Don’t make dams controversial

THE Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday, while hearing a case on the Dadhocha Dam, lashed out at critics opposing the construction of big dams in the country, saying that they were pursuing ‘someone else’s agenda’. The CJP, while referring to a remark that the Supreme Court should form its own political party, said that there was no need for anyone to say this. Justice Nisar said that dams were being constructed for Pakistan’s future generations.
It is unfortunate that attempts are being made to generate controversies on an issue that is so vital for the economy, agriculture and future of the country. We have been doing politics on water and dams since long and if the tendency continues then there are genuine apprehensions that the country would be in serious troubles some years later. Some federating units are already complaining about shortage of water and an increase in their share but it is understood that this cannot be done without increasing the storage capacity for water. The dams that we already have are losing their capacity rapidly due to silt and the only option to safeguard against an impending crisis is to build not one but maximum number of dams without further loss of time. With this in view, one must appreciate the CJP for taking personal interest in the issue and making efforts for removal of hurdles in the way of implementation of mega water reservoirs.
Prime Minister Imran Khan rightly pointed out that it was not job of the CJP to build dams but responsibility of the politicians who remained in power. We would say that it was collective failure of all successive military and civilian governments as they could not make any headway for construction of dams in the country despite the fact that there were opportune times for the purpose in the past. There was consensus on Diamer-Bhasha Dam and the current campaign for raising of funds should be supported by all yet recently the Sindh Chief Minister chose to politicise the issue by raising two objections about location of the reservoir and availability of water to fill the dam. This is despite the fact that the project has been approved after proper studies about the site and the dam would not be filled in one go.

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