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Iran for special panel to monitor pipeline

January 02, 2006 12:05 IST

The implementation of the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline project is likely to be overseen by a steering committee comprising representatives of the three countries.

Iran wants a steering committee at the helm and has conveyed this to both India and Pakistan, which are agreeable to this proposal.

Officials told Business Standard that the petroleum and natural gas ministry has asked its consultant Ernst & Young to look into this proposal for implementing the pipelines project.

The committee is likely to comprise ministers and officials of the three countries who can monitor the implementation of the project by a company that may be engaged for the purpose. "Iran is of the view that a major project implemented by one corporate entity will catch the attention of the US," said an official.

He added that the three countries would work together even if the US did not like the idea.

The three countries will take part in a joint technical workshop in India in mid-January. This was decided at an Indo-Iran joint working group meeting last week. Stating that the 2,775-km pipeline project was the first substantial cooperation proposal with Pakistan, the official said it was an extraordinary challenge to secure energy for India.

"The project structure has to be modelled in such a way that it addresses the concerns of people skeptical of dealing with Pakistan," he said.

India is of the view that there should be one pipeline for Pakistan and India and based on its success, another pipeline can be put up.

On the issue of pricing, officials said though India was keen to link the price of gas to alternative fuels like coal and uranium, the three countries had agreed that pricing could be linked to crude oil.

"Prices should be fair to Iran and affordable for India," said the official, adding that both Pakistan and India would insist on a price ceiling.
Jyoti Mukul in New Delhi
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