More dams must to enhance water storage capacity: PM

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PM Khan praises FBR for reaching historic growth of 18%

 

Says ‘anti-Pakistan elements’ misguiding Sindhis about KBD; Expresses confidence in PML-Q leadership

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the construction of more water dams in Pakistan will help the country mitigate the impacts of climate change as well as increase its water storage capacity to irrigate barren lands.

Addressing an International Symposium on Pakistan’s Hydropower Development in Global Perspective held in Islamabad, the premier said that with the rise in population, Pakistan will need more agricultural land, adding that, “we have land but we lack water to irrigate them.”

“Since the 1960s, China, through its long-term planning, managed to build 5,000 major dams whereas Pakistan built only two,” he said, adding had the hydropower potential of the country been tapped, Pakistan wouldn’t be facing the rising cost of electricity because of expensive imported fuel.

According to the premier, the construction of dams will also double the water storage capacity of Pakistan that will help irrigate land in Dera Ismail Khan, Thar and Balochistan.

Regarding the proposal of Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi for the construction of the Kalabagh Dam, the PM acknowledged that Pakistan requires more water storage capacity and the very site of Kalabagh is appropriate for the dam.

Imran Khan also said that, if built, it would be located at a “very good place”. Imran further said the federal government will need to convince Sindhis that Kalabagh is “beneficial for them”.

“Without convincing them, the work on this project cannot be started,” he said, calling the reservations against the project a part of “anti-state propaganda”.

Imran said being the federation, the centre will have to take along all provinces, which was why Sindhis needed to be convinced.

“We have only one issue: unless we convince our Sindhi brothers, anti-Pakistan forces working there will continue to use them [by saying] that their water will be stolen.”

The premier said that a campaign would have to be run to convince the people of Sindh from a scientific point of view that they would not face any loss when the dam was built.

He also said the dam-building will train Pakistani engineers in tunnel technology as well, which could be used to boost the tourism industry through better connectivity.

Imran commended the political acumen of PML-Q leader Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain, saying the government had faith in its allied party. He said the PTI was not fretting over the meetings of the opposition and a potential no-trust vote as it has become “battle-hardened” over the past 25 years.

The prime minister’s comments came a day after PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif approached the PML-Q leader to get his support for a no-trust motion against the government in the coming days.

“[PML-Q leader and Federal Minister for Water Resources] Moonis Elahi said we shouldn’t worry about the meetings,” the premier said. “Those who are worried have now thought of Chaudhry sahib’s health. I believe he is a politician who has skills that perhaps no one else does but to suddenly remember his health … these are the people who are worried.

“We have full faith in you (Elahi) and your family,” he added.

If Pakistan had been generating electricity through hydropower plants — which it has great potential for — the cost of electricity would not be so high, he rued.

 

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