India is all set to build new strategic ties with gas-rich Iran. Even as the fate of the $8 billion (Rs 39,000 crore) pipeline project to import gas from Iran to India via Pakistan has been hanging fire since 1989, the ministry of power along with state-owned NTPC and Powergrid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) is working out the contours of another $10 billion (Rs 48,750 crore) similar deal from Iran.
Top government officials said that a proposal to set up a 6,000 mega watt (mw) gas-based power project in Iran, along with a 1,500 km high-voltage transmission link to carry power to India.
“The Indian ambassador to Iran had recently advised ministry of power about the proposal, discussions on which were held on 12 August 2009 at a meeting chaired by power secretary HS Brahma,” a senior power ministry official told Hindustan Times. “It is proposed that out of the power generated, 5,000 mw may be transmitted to India and balance 1,000 mw may be transmitted to Pakistan.”
He said NTPC may be asked to construct and operate this plant. “It may do so either through a wholly-owned subsidiary or as joint venture with Iranian government agencies.”
NTPC chairman and managing director RS Sharma said, “We have held initial discussions on the project and are now waiting for the power ministry’s advice on the matter.”
Powergrid has already been asked to work out the financial and technical details for setting up a project for transmitting the power generated from this plant to India and Pakistan.
“We have already worked out two alternatives,” said SK Chaturvedi, CMD, Powergrid. “One is the 1,500 km land route from Iran via Pakistan to Gujarat which will cost upto Rs 20,000 crore. And the other is the 1,000 km sub-sea route, avoiding Pakistan. However, the sub sea route is uneconomical and will cost almost double.”