LAHORE  - The LCCI Standing Committee on Kalabagh Dam has announced to launch an awareness campaign in those areas of Sindh as well as KPK which are facing scarcity of water, by sending delegations and holding meetings with chambers of these provinces.

Addressing the second meeting, the KBD Standing Committee chairman Abdul Basit resolved to take the issue with the incumbent government of the PML-N, reminding them of their past commitments to construct this mega dam, as the cheapest energy could be generated only through hydel resources and construction of Kalabagh Dam was crucial for Pakistan’s energy need. He called for consensus on Kalabgah Dam by setting aside the politics.

Ex-Chairman Wapda Tariq Hameed gave a presentation to the participants on KBD, declaring that that all those who were opposing the KBD were playing with the country’s future. He urged the government for early construction of the project and said that the dam was inevitable for survival of Pakistan. If the government fails to take any practical steps in the construction of KBD, poverty and hunger will be the endless fate which may lead the country to irrecoverable disaster. He said that there was no threat to Nowshehra city in construction of KBD as it was 150 feet above the water level.

He said some politicians of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) were politicizing the project to deprive the Dera Ismail Khan people of its fruits.  Ex-Chairman Wapda said the water crisis could deepen in the next decade in Pakistan so dams should be constructed to avoid Somalia or Ethiopia-like situation in the country. He said the Kalabagh Dam was only viable solution to handle water situation in Pakistan while Neelam Jhelum was a hydro generation project, not water storage project.

He said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh would be real beneficiaries of the Kalabagh Dam while Sindh always benefited more whenever any dam was constructed. 

He said that Kalabagh Dam was not only beneficial to Punjab alone but it would be more helpful in erasing poverty from Khyber-PK. The chairman of committee Abdul Basit said that 2010 flood damages were result of non-availability of dams as the Kalabagh Dam had a storage capacity of 200,000 cusec water which could save the country from floods. He said world water experts had declared the KBD a viable project. He was of the view that Kalabagh Dam issue has been so much politicised and the delay in construction of dam is a part of a great game against the country. Some political parties are manipulating the issue for their advantage, he regretted.

IEP Lahore centre chairman Engineer Khalid Sajjad asked the civil society to play a crucial role in creating a larger consensus as new large water reservoirs would benefit every Pakistani. He said that a further delay in gathering a consensus from all stakeholders on the construction of unduly politicised Kalabagh Dam would cost the country and its coming generations very dearly.  He said that all the stakeholders should show some greater maturity on the issue of Kalabagh. It was the high time that all undue stands should be brushed aside to save the country from that era of darkness. He said that unlike Pakistan, India was constructing dams at every possible site.