LAHORE - As the government has started working on construction of Kalabagh Dam, the Institution of Engineers Pakistan, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Gujranwala Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry have appreciated the government decision that was announced by the Water and Power Minister.

Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif recently said that government is working on such a formula for the construction of Kalabagh Dam which is acceptable for all. “When recommendations are ready we shall approach all federating units to reach on consensus for early construction of the large dam,” he had said.

The IEP Lahore chapter president Capt (r) Khalid Sajjad observed that the campaign of IEP and Chambers have become fruitful and govt showed some intention to start working on it, which is appreciable.

He said that the Institution of Engineers Pakistan has been running campaign to pave the way for the construction of Kalabagh Dam, which is a lifeline for the country’s future. The IEP is holding seminars and discussions with experts to clear any misunderstandings impeding its materialization, he added.

He said that poverty, hunger and darkness would be our fate if we don’t build dams to store water, which is depleting fast. Nation will not forgive people who are opposing Kalabagh Dam for their own interests, he said.

Khalid Sajjad stated that only because of government’s silence over KBD, the country is suffering a loss of Rs132 billion annually. This amount could be saved by initiating construction of the dam.

LCCI standing committee on KBD chairman Abdul Basit said that another significant aspect connected with the construction of this dam is the surety of sufficient amount of electricity at a much cheaper price. “The capacity of the dam is equal to the capacity of 750 medium dams. The country’s dependence on power generated through thermal sources is costing us a lot and we face formidable challenges in both national and international markets.”

Abdul Basit called for evolving consensus on issue of construction of water reservoirs in the country without compromising the national unity.

SAARC CCI vice president Iftikhar Malik, while highlighting significance of construction of big and small water reservoirs, observed that there should be an APC to reach a consensus on the issue of national importance.

He, while asking the government to construct dams on priority to meet the growing energy needs and tackle water shortage in the country, said no significant water reservoir had been built after Tarbela dam. Iftikhar Malik said evolving consensus on Kalabagh dam was a must as no project could be initiated at the cost of national unity.

Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Samee Ullah Ch said it was strange that in some parts of the country some people are drowning in floodwater and some are dying due to non-availability of water. He said the Greater Thar Canal project should be completed at the earliest so that water could reach the Thar areas, which are in dire need of water.

Samee Ullah Ch, the former REAP senior vice president, said there should be an effective strategy to tackle floods and bring down the scale of their devastation. He also stressed the need of consensus on raising water reservoirs. He said construction of small dams at a minimum cost is more viable as compared to big reservoirs.

PML-N Traders Wing Punjab president Muhammad Ali Mian said as per a study published in an international journal, Pakistan’s biggest issue would be water after the year 2025.

He highlighted importance of building new water reservoirs on war-footings to tackle energy crisis, ensure provision of clean drinking water, bring maximum land under cultivation and protect people from floods.