LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) has decided to constitute “Council on Kalabagh Dam” that would pave way for early completion of this mega project. The Council would have experts, technocrats, business community leaders, ex-officio and representatives of the Chambers and other trade bodies in its fold.

The decision of formation of this Council was made by the LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad. 

He said that sole objective of the initiative is to make environment conducive for early construction of Kalabagh Dam as economic survival lies in cheap and sufficient hydro power generation.

Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said that during his election campaign, he had promised to form Council on Kalabagh Dam to pave way for this important national project. He said that letters to seek consent of experts had already been dispatched.

LCCI President said that Kalabagh Dam is not an issue of Punjab alone but it is matter of country’s survival that is at stake due to fast depleting water resources. He urged the civil society to play its role to save Pakistan.

Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said that Kalabagh construction was recommended by a highest-level World Bank team in 1960s so there was no question of Punjab being the sole beneficiary of Kalabagh Dam.

He said that he had been talking on the issue for a long time now but unfortunately neither any politician nor any government  gave due attention towards this problem which has now put the very survival of the country at stake.

He said that all those who were opposing the Kalabagh Dam were doing disfavor to the whole nation. So much so, he said, they were playing with future generations of this country. He said that it was unfortunate that our decision makers were not the victims of wrong decisions they make as it would only adversely impact the common man.

LCCI President said the dam is absolutely essential to irrigate 800000 acres of cultivable land that is located 100-150 feet above the Indus river level in NWFP. He said this land could only be brought under cultivation if the river level is raised that is only possible if Kalabagh Dam is built. He said the other alternative is to pump the water which is very costly. He said that studies have indicated that pumping water for potential cultivable land would cost farmers Rs 5000 per acre per year while canal water after construction of Kalabagh Dam would cost only Rs400 per acre per year.