LAHORE - Progressive Group, a representative platform of traders and businessmen, on Saturday urged the government to initiate a larger national debate on importance of Kalabagh Dam for creating consensus on its construction keeping in view the hardships being faced by all because of lower availability of water and shortage of power as well as its high prices.

Progressive Group President Khalid Usman, Vice President Abdul Wadood Alvi and Secretary Information Muhammad Ejaz Tanveer said here that immediate construction of Kalabagh Dam would not only serve as a huge water reservoir but also produce cheaper energy which was the major issue being faced by the households, agriculture and industrial sectors of Pakistan.

They called upon Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf, the ruling party in KPK, to struggle to create awareness among the masses.

The Progressive Group office-bearers claimed that reputed engineers and technocrats had for decades been recommending that survival of the country lies in the construction of Kalabagh dam. They suggested that there should be a national debate by politicians, engineers, qualified people and all stakeholders from all the provinces to take a decision about the Kalabagh dam. There should also be an interprovincial exchange of delegations, seminars on national and regional levels to convince the quarters opposing to this dam.

They said the KBD would have a storage capacity of 6.1 million acre feet minimum and a life span of 450 years, according to an estimate. In 1960 per capita availability for every Pakistani was 5100 cubic meter water which had receded to 975 cubic meter by now, which is a great threat to agriculture, industry, economy and country.

They said KBD would save province of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa from floods and irrigate a millions of acres of arid lands, which would revolutionize economy of the KPK and subsequently of Pakistan. Similarly production of cheaper electricity that was estimated at Rs 3 per unit, would make the country’s manufacturing industries compatible in the international market and also enhance business activities thus leading to more revenue for the government and creation of job opportunities, they maintained.