THERE is no disputing the view of the Punjab Assembly that the country would literally turn into a wasteland like Ethiopia if Kalabagh Dam was not built. Given the energy crisis, the lack of clean drinking water, and last, but not least, New Delhi's sinister manoeuvring of the Indus river system through a number of illegal dams, it is indeed a matter of life and death for us. Neglecting the project anymore would only amount to a national betrayal. The PPP-led government gave everyone a rude shock when it suddenly announced that the venture was next to impossible because of the differences among the provinces. Need anyone enlighten them that developing political consensus on the issue is not at all a Herculean task, since all it needs is a serious effort by the political set-up to tell the nation about the dam's importance and besides reasoning with those who have simply been using the issue to do politicking. The common people, when told of the promise the dam holds for the economy and agriculture, would certainly favour it. Though Sindh is concerned about its rights as a lower riparian, in reality with its construction, its share of water would go up by 2.2 million acre feet. Most important, a timely supply of water in the dry season would prevent the damage to the province's coastal areas where the salinity in seawater currently poses a grave threat to the mangrove forest. Then, there are some political circles in NWFP who have waged a virtual hydrological warfare against the KBD misinforming the public that vast areas of the province would get submerged. According to engineers, the selected site is most suitable. It would cause minimum population displacement, and the affected families can be duly compensated. So far as Balochistan is concerned it too would benefit greatly. The government must come out of the proverbial 'to be or not to be' situation, build consensus and start the construction work. Any further delay would, no doubt, turn the country into a dreaded wasteland.