LAHORE - People have a lot of misconceptions about the Kalabagh Dam. People of smaller provinces fear their water reservoirs will run dry or their houses will be under water or their lands will turn arid.

These views were expressed by Wapda Chairman Zafar Mahmood during a Waqt TV programme titled ‘Insight’ yesterday. The Nation Editor Salim Bokhari hosted the programme.

The Wapda chairman said: “Public minds have been corrupted by the politicians who made them believe that this project was not in their favour.” However, the fact is that Kalabagh Dam will only make Pakistan flourish. As any dam is harmless, it is built to store water and use it to generate electricity, he added.

Whenever there is shortage, the water reserved in the dam can be used for the purpose. He also recalled the worst flooding in 1929 which caused a lot of damage to life and property. “God forbid, if the water level rises again in the rivers what will happen as we don’t have any system or mechanism to tackle the situation,” he feared.

The critics of Kalabagh dam will have to start its construction from the scratch, keeping the public interest in focus, he added.

The Wapda chairman said people must be sensitised about the benefits of this project which is vital to national security.

The people who made this project controversial should correct themselves, as they have wronged the Pakistani nation. “The elements that are weakening the country with such propaganda should be unmasked.”

A Kalabagh-like dam in China is generating 22,000 mega watts electricity whereas despite lack of resources we are still producing 4,000MW electricity from KB dam, he added.

“It is highly unfortunate that we don’t have a water record system. Every year, millions of cusecs of water flow in the ocean without being utilised, which is regrettable,” he maintained.

He further said that the federal government was ready to fund this project but province would also have to contribute to this national cause by removing such misconceptions regarding Kalabagh dam. He categorically rejected the most unlikely impression that Punjab province will take out a canal from the dam.

“We are hanging in balance as it is equally difficult to deal with floods as in the case of water shortage.”

He said that Kalabagh Dam is an important project. If any province has some issue in this regard, it can approach the Council of Common interests (CCI), he held. He said there are two reasons behind the delay of construction of Kalabagh Dam.

Firstly, a mindset in Peshwar claimed that Nowshera will be drowned after the construction of the dam. They termed the dam conspiracy against them.

Secondly, another mindset in Karachi claimed that Punjab is taking Sindh’s water share. Sindh would face severe drought after the dam completion, he mentioned. In fact, he said, the dam will serve both the provinces, particularly the Sindh. The dam will prevent the Sindh from flooding.

“I have spent one and a half year on the research of Kalabagh Dam. I am confident that my research will clear doubts about the dam,” he claimed.