LAHORE

The Chairman of LCCI Standing Committee on Kalabagh Dam Abdul Basit has urged the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehrik chiefs to include construction of mega dams including KBD in their agenda along with other demands, as water shortage and energy crisis are the biggest issues of the nation which can be resolved only through large dams.

He asked the protesting parties heads, who are holding a sit-in in Islamabad, that water crisis could deepen in the next decade in Pakistan so dams should be constructed to avoid Somalia or Ethiopia-like situation in the country. He said the Kalabagh Dam was only viable solution to handle water situation in Pakistan. He said that Pakistan is heading towards the worst water shortage in the next couple of years due to insufficient water management practices and storage capacity. India had diverted Pakistani water and constructing more dams which would further worsen the water situation in Pakistan.

The farmers were excessively taking water through tube wells, which resulted in a downward trend of water in Punjab. If the process on Indian side continued then the underground water situation in Punjab would further worsen that would badly affect main crops-producing province of the country. He argued that dams are the only solution to resolve this issue, saying that a water of 1 million acre feet generates revenue of about $1.5 billion dollar per annum. Hence, the KBD can provide the benefit of up to $18-19 billion annually through its water storage.

He said that all those who were opposing the KBD were playing with the country’s future. He urged all political parties to convince the government for early construction of the project and said that the dam was inevitable for survival of Pakistan. If the government fails to take any practical steps in the construction of KBD, poverty and hunger will be the endless fate which may lead the country to irrecoverable disaster.

He said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh would be real beneficiaries of the Kalabagh Dam while Sindh always benefited more whenever any dam was constructed. Abdul Basit said that energy shortage is not the real issue of Pakistan rather the major problem is lack of cheaper electricity which can be achieved by developing consensus on construction of Kalabagh Dam. He stated that LCCI has already started awareness campaign regarding importance of KBD in those areas of Sindh as well as KPK which are facing water scarcity including Dit Mitthi, Sanghar and Tharparkar in Sindh and DI Khan in KPK.