The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) has welcomed the action taken by the Supreme of Pakistan on water issues and Kalabagh dam and termed it a ray of hope for Pakistani nation.
The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has translated the wishes of over 200 million people and agriculture sector of Pakistan. In this regard, a campaign has been launched by the LCCI as well. He said that perhaps Pakistan is the only country around the globe where important water and power projects are being opposed that is unfortunate. Indian water aggression and our failure in building new water reservoirs have thrown country into the list of water-starved countries. He said that those are guilty of the nation who are opposing Kalabagh dam as research reports have warned that Pakistan will reach absolute water scarcity by the year 2025 if water reservoirs are not built.
The LCCI President said that perceptions against Kalabagh dam are totally wrong and actually are a move to safeguard the interests of the enemies of Pakistan. He said that Kalabagh would be equally beneficial for all provinces. Actually delay in construction of Kalabagh dam is the one and only reason of water shortage in Sindh and other parts of the country. He said that water supply to Sindh was averaged 36.6 million acre feet annually before construction of Mangla and Terbala dams. This supply was enhanced to 40.30 million acre feet after building of these dams. He said that Kalabagh dam will also supply over 4 million acre feet additional water to Sindh.
The LCCI president said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry had already feared that water crisis would hit the agriculture sector of the country due to lack of sufficient water storage facilities while water storage capacity in Terbela and Mangla dams has considerably gone down. Therefore, Kalabagh dam is a must for the country. “It would be better if anti-Kalabagh elements play role for early construction of this mega project instead of fueling the provincial conflict otherwise our future generations would suffer” Malik Tahir Javaid added.
The LCCI President said that the Kalabagh dam is inevitable for the progress and prosperity of the country as it will produce power at an average cost of Rs.2/kwh. This cheap power will annually displace costly power worth approximately Rs300 billion with consequential savings of costly oil imports.
He said that there was no threat to Nowshehra city as it is 150 feet above the water level. He said that Kalabagh Dam, was not only beneficial to Punjab alone but it would be more helpful in erasing poverty from Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtun Khawa. The dam would irrigate 800,000 acres of 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.
Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeshan Khalil said that 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. They said that additional water would also be available for Sindh in all seasons. They 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.