Dams Govt asked to abandon Tarbela revival plans

Islamabad: The Punjab Forum on Monday asked the Govt to abandon plans to revive Tarbela dam and focus on construction of Kalabagh dam KBD which will cost less and last longer than any other dam in the country.

An independent Chinese consultant hired by the Water and Power Development Authority Wapda to conduct a feasibility study for desilting the Tarbela reservoir has given opinion that desilting is not a economically or technically viable option.

His report clearly states that such a move can damage the country’s largest power house and reservoir, said Baig Raj, President Punjab Forum.

In a statement , he said that Tarbela which was completed in 1978 has already lost 30 per cent capacity to 6.6 million acre feet to silting over the years.

The report says that instead of undertaking such a massive exercise it would be more economical to build a new dam of the same size and capacity which has left government with little options to delay construction of KBD, one of the most viable projects in Pakistan, he added.

Mr. Baig Raj said that Tarbela dam has an estimated lifespan of 50 years; it would complete its designed life by 2029 while KBD has a life of 450 years.

Pakistan’s per capita water availability had already gone below 975 cubic metres per person from 5100 cubic meters in 1960 which is a great threat to industry, agriculture and masses which should be a wakeup call for politicians opposing KBD.

Mr. Raj furthered that according to 1960 treaty Pakistan was to build a dam of the size of Tarbela at least every decade but governments failed to make a single dam despite resources which indicate lack of interest in securing country’s future.

The President of Punjab Forum said that unfortunately politicians and so called experts continue to damage the federation on the directions of enemies of Pakistan.

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