Kalabagh Dam is must for survival of Pakistan: Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Lahore, December 20, 2014 (PPI-OT): Advocating an early construction of Kalabagh Dam, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Saturday said that the dam is must for survival of Pakistan as it is linked to eradication of poverty and hunger. Delay in taking practical steps is already leading the country to irrecoverable disaster in Tharparkar.

In a statement issued here, LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that all those who were opposing the Kalabagh Dam despite severe energy crisis and water shortage, were not well wishers of this country as they were playing with the country‘s future.

He said that the only because of silence of policy makers over Kalabagh dam, country is suffering a loss of Rs 132 billion annually. This amount could be saved by completing this mega project. He said that according to the experts, there is no threat to Naushehra city as it is 150 feet above the water level.

LCCI President said that Kalabagh Dam, was not only beneficial to Punjab alone but it would be more helpful in erasing poverty from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as would irrigate 800000 acres of cultivable land that is located 100-150 feet above the Indus river level in the province. He said this land could only be brought under cultivation if the river level is raised that is only possible if Kalabagh Dam is built.

He said the other alternative is to pump the water which is very costly. He creditable studies have indicated that pumping water for potential cultivable land would cost farmers Rs 5000 per acre per year while canal water after construction of Kalabagh Dam would cost only Rs400 per acre per year.

He said that the politicians opposing the construction of the dam are in fact enemies of the people of province. He said historical data indicates that during past 75 years average 146 million acres of water is available per year in river Indus.

Ijaz A. Mumtaz said the Kalabagh Dam issue has been so much politicized that a consensus would not be possible. The political leadership, he added, is manipulating the issue for their advantage. He said civil society would have 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 politicized Kalabagh Dam will cost this country and its coming generations very dearly. The LCCI President said that all the stakeholders should show some greater maturity on the issue of Kalabagh.

It is 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 is constructing dams at every possible site. It has left us decades behind and coming time does not promise any good thing either.

He said that every one knows that the existing dams are constantly silting up leaving ever decreasing capacity to store water. The construction of Kalabagh dam along with other new dams is desperately needed to store adequate water. According to a conservative estimate about 30 million acre feet of water is being wasted into the sea because the country has no big water reservoirs to store it.

More importantly, as a result of melting of glaciers due to global warming, a sword of Damocles remains hanging over our heads in the shape of floods. He said that another significant aspect connected with the construction of Kalabagh Dam is the surety of sufficient amount of electricity at comparatively much cheaper price.

The country’s dependence on power generated through thermal sources is costing us way too much causing to face insurmountable challenges to remain competitive both in national and international markets.

Another significant aspect connected with the construction of Kalabagh Dam is the surety of sufficient amount of greener and cheaper electricity. Electricity generation through thermal sources is estimated to cost almost Rs.16 per unit whereas the same can be produced at Rs.2.5 to Rs.3 through Hydel.

Ijaz A. Mumtaz said if the government fails to take any practical step soon then poverty, hunger and war will be the endless fate that may lead country to irrecoverable disaster. He said that the controversies about Kalabagh dam are hitting the entire country and adding to masses sufferings therefore a campaign should be launched to evolve a consensus on this issue of national importance.

For more information, contact:
Shahid Khalil
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +92-42-111-222-499
Fax: +92-42-6368854