We are being punished for one wrong step taken 20 years ago. If Benazir Bhutto had inducted the IPPs, only as a short term measure, and launched a hydel project for the long term, Kalabagh dam today would have been storing 6.1 million acre feet (maf) of surplus flood water, generating 3600 megawatts of power for better part of the year, and the oil guzzling IPPs would have been retired long ago. Terms like power-shortage, water-shortage, job-shortage, food shortage etc would not have been part of our daily vocabulary. However we haven’t reached the point of no return yet; even now Kalabagh dam can do all the above, which no other dam can. What is needed is a change of mind-set.

Contrary to what Benazir said, Sindh will not become a desert if Kalabagh dam is built. The Indus will keep flowing normally while the dam will store only the surplus flood water, which today is flooding village after village. IRSA will see to it that each province gets its due share of water, just like Wapda will see to it that all provinces get their due share of power. But the people don’t know any of this, they have to be told, by the media, the intelligentsia, the columnists and all those who care, apparently other than two or three newspapers and an equal number of channels, the others do not care.


Lahore, September 21.