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'India to meet Pak on Apr 25 on IPI gas pipeline'

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora says India will meet Pakistan next week to resolve issues, such as transit fee, impeding progress on the over $7 bn project.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 14, 2008 08:38 PM IST

India on Monday said it will meet Pakistan next week to resolve issues, such as transit fee, impeding progress on the over $7 billion Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, even as it gets formally inducted in a rival line from Turkmenistan.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora and his Secretary MS Srinivasan will be in Islamabad on April 23 and 24 for the Steering Committee meeting of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline called by project sponsor Asian Development Bank for formal induction of New Delhi in the project and signing of heads of agreements.

On April 25, talks with Pakistan on the Iran-Pakistan- India gas pipeline would be held, Deora told reporters on the sidelines of the 5th Asia Gas Partnership Summit in New Delhi.

Officials said New Delhi has not been attending talks on IPI project since mid-2007 as it first wanted to resolve the issue of transit fee payable to Islamabad for wheeling the gas through that country.

New Delhi and Islamabad have reached broad understanding on the transportation tariff payable to Pakistan for wheeling the gas through the pipeline passing through that country. But the two nations have not yet agreed on payment of a separate transit fee to Pakistan for allowing passage of the fuel.

Islamabad is seeking $0.493 per million British thermal unit (mBtu) as transit fee, while New Delhi has offered $0.15 per mBtu ($60 million a year) for providing security and right of way to the pipeline, officials said.

Earlier, India and Pakistan narrowed down differences on transportation tariff. Islamabad previously wanted $0.7 per mBtu as wheeling charges, but New Delhi was willing to pay no more than $0.55 per mBtu (220 million dollars annually).

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