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TAPI Gas Pipeline in Trouble with India, Pakistan and Afghanistan

The TAPI Gas Pipeline Project, which begins in Turkmenistan and culminates in India has landed into trouble in Afghanistan. The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project is facing problems in Afghanistan in terms of land acquisition along the planned routes. So far only 45% of the land for the Afghanistan section of the pipeline has been acquired as per Afghan officials.

India and Pakistan have decided to ask Turkmenistan to reduce the gas price by linking it with Brent crude oil rates. Both the governments of India and Pakistan have decided to re-negotiate the price under the gas sale-purchase agreement with Turkmen Gas Company in the light of prevalent rates of LNG.

Officials stated that the work of the TAPI pipeline project has begun in five provinces of Afghanistan even though they did not name the provinces. The legal advisor of TAPI pipeline in Afghanistan stated that the land acquisition has emerged as a major challenge because much of the allocated land along the route of the pipeline is owned privately. He further added that in some cases the land dispute has even landed in the court.

The TAPI pipeline project was inaugurated by the leaders of the four nations in January 2016. In February 2018 the work on the Turkmenistan portion of the pipeline was completed and in the same month work on the Afghanistan section commenced. But now things are held up as the highly ambitious pipeline project ran into troubles of land acquisition.

It remains to be seen how the authorities in Afghanistan tackle this issue in near future. If they fail to address the issue of land acquisition then it might come as a big setback for the prospects as well as the viability of the TAPI gas pipeline.

As much as 816 kilometres of the 1814 kilometre long pipeline will pass through Afghanistan. The nations which are parties to the very important pipeline project will hope that the land acquisition troubles for the Afghanistan section come to an end soon and work proceeds to meet the target. The pipeline project is very important for the economic development and energy needs of Afghanistan along with other nations who are a part of the project.

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