As reported in the Nation of July 23, the former minister, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, has challenged Imran Khan on Kalabagh dam, despite his own ignorance on the subject. He has proved that he is ignorant as he says, to save itself from floods; Punjab should build dams on Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej. Mangla dam is already stopping floods in Jhelum River. The small Neelum-Jhelum power project will give us power but will not stop floods. Only a small one maf capacity reservoir can be built on Chenab River to provide some relief, there is no way of building dams on the flat sandy stretches where Ravi and Sutlej enter Pakistan. If Bilour knows of any we shall be grateful.

He also said that Punjab wants to build Kalabagh dam just to save south Punjab from floods. Let us accommodate Bilour and not build Kalabagh dam, the flood waters of Kabul, Chitral, Swat, Kurram, Siren, Haro and Soan, will not stop at South Punjab but will play havoc with parts of Sindh and of Baluchistan. The floods have already reached Guddu barrage. Even Tarbela, Bhasha or Skardu dams will not stop these floods which will keep hitting Sindh and Baluchistan every year until Kalabagh dam is built.

He quoted the resolutions of the three assemblies against Kalabagh dam. Does he know that these were passed by ‘show of hand’ in five minutes flat, without any discussions or without any input from irrigation experts of the province? They have the least idea that we are storing only 9% of the annual river flows to India’s 40% and because of this the country is already water-stressed and is fast approaching the water-scarce level. Do the assembly members know at all what water scarcity is and what it will do the country?

He also talks about four districts of KPK getting submerged. He does not know that more land will be submerged in Punjab than in KPK. Of the land submerged in KPK, only 100 acres is irrigated and the rest is all un-irrigated (banjar), similarly more people will be displaced in Punjab than in KPK.

Bilour should have pity on the country and its 19 crore, mostly hungry and thirsty people. I would like to request him to do some research and do his homework before he challenge experts and mislead the people. Seeing the ferocity of the gushing water of Chitral tributary and others, only a mad man will talk about small dams doing the job of mega dams.


Lahore, July 26.