LAHORE - The participants of a seminar have advocated early construction of Kalabagh Dam, saying the large water reservoirs are inevitable for the progress and prosperity of the country.

In a series of lectures on ‘importance of KBD to resolve present energy crisis’ organised by the Institution of Engineers Pakistan, the speakers said that Kalabagh Dam is the immediate, cheapest and best located substitute, completing within six years.

The representatives of Institution of Engineers Pakistan, Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Pakistan, Pakistan Engineering Congress, Sind Tas Water Council and LCCI, referring to the fast-decreasing per capita water availability, which has come down from 5,650 cubic meter in 1947 to about 1,000 cubic meter due to rapid increase in population and natural phenomenon of sedimentation in water reservoirs, said the situation could only be improved by enhancing water storage capacity in the country. They said water resources could also be utilised to add low-cost hydel electricity to the system. IEP Lahore centre chairman Engr Khalid Sajjad suggested that army, as a powerful institution and custodian of the country, can convince all political parties as well as the government to develop a consensus on this mega project of national importance, as the army had already played its role in restoration of independent judiciary. “Presently, the biggest issue of the country is energy crisis and KBD is the first step to resolve this issue. Pakistan army can persuade political parties to get united on construction of this large water reservoir for the prosperity of the country as well as the public.” 

He said that the IEP has initiated campaign to create consensus among all stakeholders on this mega reservoir, which will produce power at an average cost of Rs1.5/kwh. This cheap power will annually save approximately Rs300 billion due to reduction in costly oil imports, he said and added that saving alone would wipe out the current account deficit, boost reserves and strengthen the rupee.  ‘Kalabagh Dam issue has been so much politicised that a consensus would not be possible therefore the army would have to play its role to collaborate with the civilian government in this regard.’