FINALLY the nod by the Federal Cabinet to the Bhasha dam project, that had for long been in cold storage, has raised hopes for the country's battered power sector. The good news is that work on the project would begin somewhere in the middle of the next year, if everything goes as planned. But to ensure commencement of the project on time, the government would have to tide over impediments like bureaucratic delay, the curse of redtapism that has now almost become a hallmark of our system. When completed, the project would be adding up to 4500 MW of electricity to the national grid, as revealed by Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf. However as the huge water reservoir, worth $12.6 billion, would take about seven years to build, by then the country's energy needs, not to mention the demand and supply gap, would have concurrently shot up. The government then ought to give a serious thought to other projects like Kalabagh as well, apart from at other sites. Besides producing electricity, these projects could go a long way in alleviating the lot of our agriculture sector. Water that is wasted otherwise could be stored in these reservoirs and used for a variety of purposes. The countrywide protests last month caused by the 70 percent increase in electricity tariffs should have reminded the government how serious the power crisis could really turn out to be. Moreover, the shortage of gas, and thus electricity to the industrial sector, dealt a heavy blow to the national economy. Reports are that there would be a severe shortage of gas in the coming winter. Thus the government should now focus its attention on devising ways to expedite work on other projects. The huge coal reserves discovered some time back in Thar, estimated to equal those of Saudi Arabia and Iran put together, would not only end the energy crisis, but would allow us to gain valuable foreign capital as well. But it is a pity the project remains nothing more than hot air. Bhasha is a step in right direction but it would be advisable to launch other projects of the sort as well.