Necessity of water dams and economic growth of Pakistan | By Muhammad Nadeem Bhatti

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Necessity of water dams and economic growth of Pakistan

Pakistan is a developing country where sooner or later, water scarcity issues will prevail throughout the country if more dams are not constructed.

International Commission on Large Dams has reported that Pakistan has 150 water reservoirs. These water reservoirs are 15m in height.

The largest dam in Pakistan is Tarbela, which is an earth-filled dam situated near the Indus River in KPK. But the country does not have enough water storage capacity for the future.

The ongoing situation in the country can be evaluated as we only have 10% water storage capacity. On the other hand, the world has a 40% capacity. And it is decreasing due to siltation. Around 1/4thof the capacity has been decreased in dams.

Three years ago, World Bank published a report stating that our country is getting more water from which 80% is being used in the agriculture sector.In addition, the country losses $12 billion annually due to mismanagement of water management strategies.

The situation is getting worse with every passing day as the country has only 30 days of water storage capacity compared with the US,which has 900 days of storage.

Even our neighbouring developing country, India, has 170 days of storage. According to International standards, a country must have 120 days of capacity,and we are not meeting or even close to that. And when it comes to the construction of dams, Pakistan faces political challenges in that too.

The fact is; that if more dams are not constructed, water scarcity will cause extreme damage to our agriculture sector. As a result, unemployment and hunger will prevail in the country.

Currently, we are witnessing the worst flood in the history of the country as more than 60% of the land has been drowned in water. Millions of people have lost their loved ones, houses, flocks, and farms due to this flood.

Billions of rupees of properties have been destroyed just because of the negligence of the government and authorities. All this could have been stopped if our leaders and politicians had made a strategy and followed some planning. But they were all busy playing the dirty game of politics.

In addition, the tourism industry has been seriously damaged as hundreds of thousands of people got stuck in areas including Kalam, Swat, Kumrat, Naran, Quetta, etc. And several were waiting to visit these areas, but the flood took all the landscapes with it.

No one is responsible but the governmental authorities. Despite knowing that there are chances of a devastating flood, no one took serious action, and now every single politician is showing sympathy for the destroyed families and is busy collecting funds.

The thing is, flood is not a new thing for us Pakistanis. And everybody knows that they occur in the monsoon season.

But, this could have been stopped,or its impact could have been reduced if proper precautionary measures would have taken.

If this situation continues and no dams are constructed on an emergency basis, we are afraid that we will soon be lost all of our fertile lands.

Pakistan is an agricultural country where more than 50% of the population earns a living or is associated with this noble profession.

But after 75 years, we still have to face disasters such as floods due to mismanagement of the authorities. Still, it is not too late, and we can make our country a better, peaceful place to live.

Compared to India, several crops are sold at a higher price in our country. Why is it so? The reason is simply the inflation and higher fuel prices.

The farmers and landlords are forced to sell the flour, rice, sugar cane, etc., at higher prices because most of the land owners use generators and tube wells to get water. As a result, the end consumer gets the product at a higher price.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is responsible too for taking Pakistan to such a situation.

Before giving our country any loans (obviously for its own interest), it should have taken action how can a country go to pay you back with just 16 or 17 major dams? Now, the time has arrived that all the major and minor political parties should sit together and plan out a strategy in favor of our country.

We can’t afford to lose more land, and our future generations to curse us for not taking precautionary measures.

After having an economic session with Mehar Kashif Younas, who is a man of great intellectand an economic specialist, I came to the conclusion that an equivalent amount that politicians spend in their election campaigns should be spent to provide relief to the people who lost their everything in the disaster.

It is time that Pakistan should ask for help from its friends, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Malaysia, to construct a dam.

On average, a dam costs around the US $14 billion to construct, and right now, we are not in a state to raise billions of dollars.

In addition, a gathering should be called, including the top business community of the country, where industrialists, store owners, businessmen, and traders can raise a fund to build some dams.

Also, it is requested thatthe Chief Justice of Pakistan (Justice Umar Ata Bandial) take strict action on this whole scenario and put the main culprits behind bars. By doing this, an example will be settled once and for all, and politicians will be careful next time.

Also, I would like to request all the people to donate as much as they can so that the people who lost their houses and finances can take another start and give their life a second chance.

Let’s pray to Allah Almighty that we don’t ever see such a disaster in our lives. If we help our brothers and sister in this need of the hour, Allah Almighty will save us from every evil and bad in the future.

—The Writer is a Senior Social and Economic Analyst

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