The Institution of Engineers Pakistan has expressed hope that the government will keep its focus on resolving the energy crisis and allocate maximum funds for the construction of big dams including Kalabagh Dam in upcoming budget 2015-16.

IEP Lahore Centre Chairman Captain (r) Syed Khalid Sajjad, while presenting a lecture here at IEP, said that policymakers would have to address the concerns of the public since they suffer the most as a result of the power crisis.

He believed that the country’s reliance on costly thermal power is increasing the cost of production and the import bill as well. Therefore, the country needs an urgent change in its energy-mix in favour of hydel power and alternate energy sources.

He said that in order to tackle the energy shortage, the government has to allocate funds for construction of dams including Kalabagh, water reservoirs and Thar coal project. “At least 15 per cent of the total budget should be allocated to hydel power projects.”

“It is just some of the politicians of doubtful integrity with ulterior motives who resist the construction of Kalabagh Dam while the whole nation is for it.”

Capt Khalid Sajjad shown his resentment over the last federal budget, saying no fund was allocated for Kalabagh Dam- the lifeline of Pakistan, neither any clear direction nor any power policy was revealed for energy crisis solution.

Further controls for theft and power losses remained the same. No roadmap was announced to provide relief in electricity loadshedding, which was a serious cause of concern for all, he added.

He also suggested the use of biogas for the agriculture sector including electricity generation and gas for cooking besides producing bio fertiliser. He said that over 185 billion tons of Thar coal reserves are enough to provide 100,000MW of electricity for 100 years. He said that even though the government is apparently making efforts in this sphere, but plans need to be accelerated, he stressed.

Opposing the huge allocation for PSDP in past budgets, he said that the money should go to power sector as constructing mega dams, including KBD is a must for revival of economy. Engineer Khalid Sajjad said that Kalabagh Dam is the immediate, cheapest and best located substitute, completing within six years, costing a total of six billion dollars while providing more than 3500 megawatts of power. All the other substitutes, including Bhasaha, Dasu, Boonji tunnel etc are in pipe line and investigating stage. None of them can be completed earliest than 12 to 20 years.