Kalabagh Dam: A life line for Pakistan
ISLAMABAD – Former Chairman Wapda, Engineer Shamsul Mulk said on Wednesday that construction of new hydel dams including Kalabagh dam was vital to control massive loss of water during monsoon and meeting of growing energy and agricultural needs of the ever increasing population of the water’s starved country.
Talking to state-media, Shamsul Mulk said the construction of new dams including Kalabagh and Diamir Bhasa was inevitable to overcome the acute shortage of energy and water situation currently being faced by the country.
“Dams are necessary to feed increasing population, increase the area under-cultivation, boost agricultural and industrial output and save the country from becoming a desert,” he maintained.
He said construction of mega dams was imperative for speedy development and sustained economic and agriculture growth besides plays key role in generation of employment opportunities, alleviation of poverty and bringing direct foreign investment in the country.
Mulk said the massive devastation’s caused by 2010 foods could easily be averted by constructing new dams and water reservoirs in all potential areas of the country, he said.
“Pakistan can face a major water crisis if we did not construct hydel dams including Kalabagh and Diamir Bhasha by 2025,” he added.
Terming Kalabagh dam as technically most feasible project, former Chairman Wapda said there was absolutely no harm to Khyber Pakthunkhwa from its construction.
Kalabagh Dam was planned with an annual generation capacity of 12 billion units of electricity, at cost of Rs1.2 per unit but due to incessant delays in its construction, WAPDA fulfilled demand by generating electricity by using expensive fuel, which costs the nation around Rs192 billion annually.
“The reservations being raised by some quarters regarding drowning of Nowshera, Charsaadda, Swabi, Mardan and Peshawar districts after construction of Kalabagh dam were not based on facts and ground realities,” he shared.
He said China and India had built 22,000 and 4500 small, medium and big dams respectively but Pakistan has comparatively constructed very less number of dams despite having huge water’s potential stretched from Hamalya mountains to Karakuram and Hinduskash regions.
“Had Pakistan’s water potential was fully tapped in the past, the current worst load-shedding and water crisis could have easily been averted,” he maintained.
While regretting over not taking issue of construction of new dams seriously, former Chairman Wapda said it was unfortunate that not a single dam was constructed after Turbella dam by any government in the past, and resultantly the country was now at edge of water crisis.
The water level in ground will further drop in upcoming years, which would create a lot of problems for people seeking potable water for drinking and this serious issue could be tackled only with construction of new water reservoirs in the country.