Govt. should construct Kalabagh dam early: President LCCI

Lahore: Being an agrarian country, Pakistan cannot afford to waste huge amount of water resources which are depleting fast. Shortage of water has not only caused undue damage to the agriculture sector but to the manufacturing sector as well.

“We cannot waste more time therefore government should pave way for early construction of Kalabagh dam which is the only solution of water and electricity shortage”, said LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz while talking to a 20-member delegation led by its Chairman Malik Mansab Awan and Ch. M. Javed Khushi here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that our economy is based on agriculture sector which cannot survive without sufficient water resources. He said that we are already suffering and further delay in the construction of Kalabagh dam would hit us hard.

He said that it is a good omen that political circles have started realizing the importance of this mega project that would certainly pave way for its early construction.

“Kalabagh Dam issue has been so much politicized that a consensus seems difficult therefore the government would have to take decision.”

The LCCI President said that melting of glaciers are eye opener as sword of floods is hanging on our heads.

“An opinion gained widespread support across the country that the losses of recent floods in Pakistan which are estimated to be billion dollars could have been reduced if big dams and water reservoirs were in place”, Ijaz A. Mumtaz added.

The LCCI President said that Kalabagh dam is the most suitable project for the national economy as it would not only produce cheap and sufficient electricity but would also avert the devastation caused by the floods.

He said that Kalabagh dam is a must to control the poverty & hunger and those who were opposing the KBD were enemies of this country as they were playing with the country‘s future.

The LCCI President said that Kalabagh Dam, is not only beneficial to Punjab alone but it would be more helpful in erasing poverty from Khyber Pakhtun Khawa as it would irrigate 800000 acres of cultivable land that is located 100-150 feet above the Indus river level in the province. He said this land could only be brought under cultivation if the river level is raised that is only possible if Kalabagh Dam is built.

The political leadership, he added, is manipulating the issue for their advantage. He said civil society would have to play a crucial role in creating a larger consensus as new large water reservoirs would benefit every Pakistani.

He said that a further delay in gathering a consensus from all stakeholders on the construction of unduly politicized Kalabagh Dam will cost this country and its coming generations very dearly.

The LCCI President said that all the stakeholders should show some greater maturity on the issue of Kalabagh. It is the high time that all undue stands should be brushed aside to save the country from that era of darkness. He said that unlike Pakistan, India is constructing dams at every possible site. It has left us decades behind and coming time does not promise any good thing either.

Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that every one knows that the existing dams are constantly silting up leaving ever decreasing capacity to store water. The construction of Kalabagh dam along with other new dams is desperately needed to store adequate water. According to a conservative estimate about 30 million acre feet of water is being wasted into the sea because the country has no big water reservoirs to store it.

The LCCI president said that another significant aspect connected with the construction of Kalabagh Dam is the surety of sufficient amount of electricity at comparatively much cheaper price. The country’s dependence on power generated through thermal sources is costing us way too much causing to face insurmountable challenges to remain competitive both in national and international markets.

Another significant aspect connected with the construction of Kalabagh Dam is the surety of sufficient amount of greener and cheaper electricity. Electricity generation through thermal sources is estimated to cost almost Rs.16 per unit whereas the same can be produced at Rs.2.5 to Rs.3 through Hydel.

He said that the present scenario leads to import oil worth over US$ 12 billion a year which is costing us dearly while causing to face insurmountable challenges to remain competitive both in national and international markets.

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