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LAHORE: Various issues on the $2 billion 660kV High-Voltage Direct Current Matiari-Lahore transmission line are likely to be resolved by Jan 15 following detailed discussions under way between the government and a leading Chinese company.

The 878km line is a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and will be able to transmit about 4,000 megawatts of electricity. The company had slowed down work on the project last month citing various problems, including differences with the government over size of a revolving fund for payment of bills, security cost and operation and maintenance cost.

However, it later resumed work after government agencies, including the National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC) and Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) assured it of taking up these issues with the government.

“During the last few weeks, the NTDC and PPIB held various meetings with the Chinese company on the issues. These are related to the transmission service and project implementation agreements to be dealt with by both agencies,” an official source told Dawn on Saturday.

“A couple of meetings are expected in the coming days in this regard. And we hope that the chapter of such issues will be closed before Jan 15,” the official added.

He said after resolution of these issues, the government would sign a formal agreement with the Chinese company that was carrying out some initial jobs on the site of the line’s two convertor stations -- one near Matiari and the other near Lahore. “As soon as the final agreement is signed, the government will reimburse the company for the expenses incurred on the ongoing initial works,” the official added.

He said after signing the formal agreement, the government would officially announce the date for completion of the project that has to be completed within 27 months.

Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2017