LAHORE - The representatives of local business community have urged the Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to announce immediate construction of Kalabagh Dam for the nation, which is facing loadshedding, acute water shortage or devastation of floods for the last many years because of absence of big water reservoirs and dams in the country.

The government as first step should 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, shortage of power as well as its high prices and floods hitting Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Southern Punjab and Sindh for the last many years.

Immediate construction of Kalabagh Dam will not only serve as a huge water reservoir, help avoiding the floods but also produce cheaper energy which is the major issue being faced by the households, agriculture and industrial sectors of Pakistan. This is the right moment as per reports Economic Coordination Committee has also asked the government to take an immediate decision on this most important dam.

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan, who is ruling the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which is the most sensitive about construction of this dam, should also struggle to create awareness amongst the masses as it could keep him alive in history of the country forever.

Progressive Group President Khalid Usman and Deputy Secretary Muhammad Ejaz Tanveer in a joint statement issued here claimed that reputed engineers and technocrats continue to recommend since decades that the survival of the country lies in the construction of Kalabagh dam but governments have not moved in that direction. Similar is the policy of the present government which is trying to go for coal fired projects which are not only expensive, a threat to environment and ecology but also a burden on the pocket of masses as well as the national kitty.

They said that the government was bent upon offering additional profit to coal power generation companies, which would discourage investment in hydel power generation, which is the most economical and environmental friendly method to produce electricity.

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 residents of those provinces about benefit of Kalabagh Dam who are opposed to this dam.

They claimed that Tarbela Dam has been eroded by 70 per cent which will complete its age in 2029.  On the other hand KBD will 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 which has 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 Pakhtunkhwa from floods and irrigate land.