LAHORE: Advocating an early construction of Kalabagh Dam, eminent expert on Monday said that the dam is inevitable for the survival of Pakistan as if the government fails to take any practical steps, poverty and hunger will be the endless fate that may lead the country to irrecoverable disaster.
Speaking at a grand debate on Kalabagh Dam, arranged by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), former KPK Chief Minister Shamsul Mulk, was the keynote speaker.
Only because of the government’s silence over the Kalabagh dam, the country is suffering a loss of Rs132 billion annually, he said, adding that this amount could be saved by initiating construction of Kalabagh Dam.
Mulk said that there is no threat to Nowshera city, as it is 150-feet above the water level.It is unfortunate that the decision markers in the country had nothing to lose rather they continue to enjoy all perks and they make a wrong decision, resulting in suffering of the masses, he said, adding that the same is happening today, there is no electricity, but the politicians and the top bureaucrats all are getting it free-of-cost, said Mulk.
The Kalabagh Dam is not only beneficial to Punjab, but it would be more helpful in erasing poverty from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, as it would irrigate 800,000 acres of cultivable land that is located 100-150 feet above the level of River Indus.
He said this land could only be brought under cultivation if the river level is raised and that is only possible if Kalabagh Dam is built. Other alternative is to pump water, which is very costly, he said, adding that creditable studies have indicated that pumping water for potential cultivable land would cost farmers Rs5,000 per acre per annum, while canal water after construction of Kalabagh Dam would cost only Rs400 per acre per annum.
The former KPK chief minister said that the politicians opposing the construction of the dam are in fact enemies of the people of the province.
Historical data indicates that during the last 75 years average 146 million acres of water is available per annum in River Indus, he said, adding that the Kalabagh Dam issue has been so much politicised that a consensus would not be possible.