Government is to begin construction of Diamer Basha Dam in September. But serious concerns about its safety and other aspects were expressed recently in an article by of Mr B.A Malik titled Safety of Basha Dam at high risk published in The Nation on November 10, 2007. According to the writer, a former chief technical advisor UNO, the 922 feet tall Diamer Basha will be the world's highest roller compacted concrete (RCC) dam. It will be vulnerable to high risk factors because of its being located in an active earthquake zone and at the mouth of an extraordinary hazardous upper Indus valley known for massive rock slides, avalanches and snow dams blocking streams flow for months and subsequent lake bursts. The lndus ran dry for six months in 1841 and its flow was blocked by a rockslide triggered by an earthquake near Nanga Parbat. A Sikh battalion crossed the river at Attock on foot. And such occurrence were not only in the past according to a Canadian glaciologist Mr Kenneth Hewitt who has studied glaciers in the north areas for over 40 years, but can repeat themselves with enormous ferocity in the future also. The writer also considered that RCC is a relatively new material not yet used anywhere for dams higher than 700 feet. Generally dams in places as the middle lndus valley in active seismic zones are built not of masonry but of earth/rockfill embankments. They are resilient and can absorb earthquake shocks besides being economical. It was primarily for such reasons that Mangla, Tarbela and the proposed Kalabagh and original Basha were earth/rockfill dams. The other questionable aspect is the spillway capacity. A spillway acts like a safety valve for a dam. It is designed to pass the probable maximum river discharge safely. But the capacity of Diamer Basha has been under estimated. It could be very dangerous in the event of maximum record flood of 1929. A dam could be designed to withstand the impact of an earthquake of such projected magnitude. But surge much greater than the maximum design flood caused by extraordinary rockslides, avalanches and snow dams could be of serious risk due to inadequate spillway capacity. It could overtop the dam and cause catastrophic devastation as happened at Vaijant Dam in Italy in 1963. It led to heavy loss of life and property though the dam itself remained unbroken. Cost estimated of the project is another puzzle. The cost of the 922-foot-tall RCC Diamer Basha Dam was estimated in August 2004 as $6.64 billion against $6.7 billion of the original lower 660 feet high rockfill dam determined in 1984. Cost of the 10 meters lower dam approved by the government recently was $12.6 billion. According to Mr Malik it seemed that the height of Diamer Basha Dam was raised to 922 feet disregarding its safety aspects, its water and power benefits were upgraded and costs reduced in 2004 albeit questionably as if to rank it superior to Kalabagh. However, the bid apparently worked when in January 2006 the government gave first priority to Diamer Basha Dam over Kalabagh. It was also pointed out in the article that Lahmeyer International, the lead firm of the current consultant for Diamer Basha Dam Project, was blacklisted by the World Bank for being involved in corruption and kickbacks while executing the Loshotho Highlands Project. The World Bank has notified the Indian government that: ? Lahemeyer International was not qualified to be retained for any project. ? Lahemeyer International is also a consultant on India's Baglihar Project on the Chenab which caused heavy loss to Pakistani farmers recently. ? Lahmeyer International also prepared India's case for the Neutral Expert appointed by the World Bank in connection with Pakistan's complaint regarding the Baglihar project. The 'neutral expert' gave a "win win verdict" (in favour of India) on February 12, 2007. In the light of the foregoing paragraphs the feasibility of Diamer Basha Dam appears highly suspect. We demand that the government must not go ahead with the project unless and until grave concerns particularly about the safety of the dam are satisfactory addressed to preclude even the remotest chance of mishap which could be catastrophic for life and property all the way down the lndus valley to the Arabian Sea coast. The project otherwise may have to be abandoned. The government also needs to clarify its position regarding appointment of Lahmeyer International as project consultant which was blacklisted by the World Banks and known to have helped India in its case for a 'neutral expert' against Pakistan's complaint regarding the Baglihar project. When World Bank notified all the countries of the United Nations regarding the blacklisting this firm of nefarious consultants and who are in 'league' with India our Enemy No 1. Then why our government has appointed them as consultants to such a controversial project.