TAPI pipeline project faces more delays in Afghanistan

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project has faced another delay in Afghanistan over a postponement in land acquisition, among other issues, according to local authorities.

The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum said on Monday that some required letters have not been signed, TOLO News said in a report. And according to the Natural Resources Monitoring Network, construction on the project will be delayed for another six months.

“There is a need for the approval of the law (on land acquisition) but there are delays because the MPs are busy in (discussing) former decrees by the President. I think it will take six months to pass this phase,” said Ibrahim Jafarai, a member of the Natural Resources Monitoring Network.

Work on the $8 billion pipeline project began in Afghanistan in February 2018. At least 816 km of the total 1,814-km-long pipeline will pass through the provinces of Herat, Farah, Nimroz, Helmand and Kandahar in Afghanistan.

The final destination of the pipeline will be the Indian town of Fazilka, near the border with Pakistan. When the project”s agreement was signed in 2015, the work on Afghanistan”s part was scheduled for 2017, the TOLO News report said.

Last year, the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum said work on the project will begin at the beginning of 2020.  Meanwhile, critics have said that more government focus was required on projects like TAPI and should be prioritized, because of their major impact on the Afghanistan”s economy.

Afghanistan is expected to earn more than $400 million in transit duties annually from the project.

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