LAHORE - Hunger, starvation, famine and darkness would be our fate if we don’t build dams to store water that is depleting fast. Nation will not forgive them who are opposing Kalabagh Dam for their own interests.

This was stated by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Standing Committee on Kalabagh Dam Chairman Abdul Basit in a statement issued here Saturday. He said that that the dam is inevitable for survival of Pakistan as if the government fails to take any practical steps, poverty and hunger will be the endless fate that may lead the country to irrecoverable disaster.

He said that all those who were opposing the Kalabagh Dam were enemies of this country as they were playing with the country‘s future. He said that the only because of government silence over Kalabagh dam, country is suffering a loss of Rs 132 billion annually.

This amount could be saved by initiating construction of Kalabagh Dam. Abdul Basit said that there is no threat to Nowshehra city as it is 150 feet above the water level. Abdul Basit said that Kalabagh Dam, was not only beneficial to Punjab alone but it would be more helpful in erasing poverty from Khyber Pakhtun Khawa as would irrigate 800000 acres of cultivable land that is located 100-150 feet above the Indus river level in the province. 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 creditable 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. He said that the politicians opposing the construction of the dam are in fact enemies of the people of province.

He said historical data indicates that during past 75 years average 146 million acres of water is available per year in river Indus. He said the Kalabagh Dam issue has been so much politicized that a consensus would not be possible. The political leadership he added is manipulating the issue for their advantage. He said civil society would have to play a crucial role in creating a larger consensus as new large water reservoirs would benefit every Pakistani.