Start Construction of Kalabagh Dam for Prosperity of Pakistan
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Kalabagh Dam will bring economic prosperity all over Pakistan with additional water supply for irrigation through a storage capacity of 6.1 MAF, reduction in prevailing power shortage with annual generation of 12,000 million units from its 3,600 MW powerhouse and flood control with no adverse impacts to any of the provinces. Besides, the general feeling in the country, even in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is that the power crisis and water scarcity have not only pushed the economy to the brink of disaster but also destroyed the peace. The common man also endorses the views of the technical experts on the dam.
Benefits from Kalabagh Dam: Mangla Dam (1967) and Tarbela Dam (1977) were the main catalyst in industrial and agricultural development of Pakistan. Since then their live storage capacity has reduced by 35% but no mega dam was constructed thereafter resulting in severe water shortage taking country to brink of water starved level and severe load shedding due to power generation shortfall. Kalabagh Dam Project would play a very important role by way of replacing storage lost by sedimentation in existing reservoirs at Mangla, Tarbela and Chashma, providing effective regulation of Indus river to meet additional Kharif allocations of the provinces under IRSA Water Apportionment Accord-1991, regulation and control of high flood peaks in the Indus, and generating a large chunk of hydro-power.
With Diamer Bhasha Dam construction nowhere in site, Kalabagh Dam is the most appropriate and better alternate option in terms of reduced cost; storage capacity with supply of water share to irrigate 800,000 acres of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) besides other provinces; enhanced generation capacity (with provision for expansion like Tarbela Dam now going to be +6,000 MW from initially designed capacity of 2,100 MW) with revenue of Hydel Profit to both Punjab and KP in proportion to area submerged; less transmission cost/losses due to proximity to load centre also contributing to reduction in NTDC's power system transmission losses; preferable geology (remoteness from fault line); easy rail/road access (no dislocation of important roads like KKH - Karakoram Highway) and most important no impediment in financing by World Bank and other donors because of its location.
Flood Control: Floods in Jhelum and Indus rivers get controlled to a greater extent by Mangla and Tarbela dams, but same in Kabul, Swat, Chenab and Ravi rivers play havoc in KP, Punjab and Sindh during monsoons every year. Problem of inundation of Nowshehra and areas around during floods in Kabul and Swat rivers is mainly due to narrow Attock Gorge (about 7 km long 800 m wide) near Kherabad which blocks smooth flow of these rivers combined with controlled releases from Tarbela Dam. Devastation done by floods in these rivers during 2010 when Kalabagh Dam was still not there is clear to understand. Kalabagh Dam will help in minimizing the peaks of major floods and providing the needed flood relief downstream. Munda Dam on River Swat is the right solution for protecting Nowshehra and Swabi from its floods.
Politicization of Kalabagh Dam: Construction of Kalabagh Dam was to be started in 1988, but the plan was shelved due to politically motivated opposition mainly from NWFP (now KP) and Sindh. Factual position is that neither Nowshehra (and so Swabi, Mardan, Charsadda, Peshawar at still higher elevations) nor SCARP projects of Mardan and Swabi (all above 950 Ft) are going to be submerged in its reservoir (max retention level of 915 Ft for few weeks only). Haripur and Khalabat Township in KP are practical examples, which have never submerged due to construction of Tarbela Dam so close. Construction of dykes along banks of Kabul River under the project will further protect low-lying areas of Nowshehra District from overflowing of the river. Before construction of Tarbela Dam, Sind was receiving about 36 MAF per year, which became 43 MAF thereafter. With additional water supply of 4.75 MAF from Kalabagh Dam to irrigate additional 1 million acres of barren land, Sindh will never become barren but benefit more than any other province. Likewise KP, Punjab and Balochistan will also benefit from their due shares of 2.01, 2.04 and 1.56 MAF of water supply respectively for irrigation from this project. The apprehensions that Nowshehra will drown and Sindh become desert by construction of Kalabagh Dam are thus only figments of imagination. The opposition of Kalabagh Dam is therefore not based on solid facts but politically motivated spreading disinformation and blatant lies on behest of foreign hand. This propaganda has best been countered in an article “Such ka Qehat” by a world-class expert on dams, Engr. Shamsul Mulk, Ex Chairman WAPDA and CM Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, himself hailing from Nowshehra.
Mishandling of the Project: None of the governments so far has handled this matter wisely and earnestly preferring political expedience over national prosperity. Keeping this important project under the carpet due to politically motivated opposition by few elements amounts to being unpatriotic. Delaying construction of Kalabagh Dam any further will result disastrous due to further reduction in agricultural produce on account of depleting storage capacity of existing reservoirs to feed rapidly exploding Population of Pakistan in near future. Pakistan is already losing about Rs. 180 billion annually, due to replacement of its cheap hydel energy with costly thermal energy, just because of not constructing Kalabagh Dam. Pakistan's enemies could have never wished a worst scenario for Pakistan than this. It constitutes the most grievous betrayal of Pakistan and its people by the political governing class and rulers.
1. Prime Minister of Pakistan is requested to immediately develop necessary consensus on Kalabagh Dam (even go for National Referendum, if so required) and start construction of the project without fearing any resistance from the rogue elements working on behest of enemies of Pakistan. In spite of international pressures, if you could decide for Atomic Explosions making defence of Pakistan invincible, you can surely go for building of Kalabagh Dam Project for securing prosperous future of Pakistan. God bless you with addition of this feather in your cap as well.
2. Chief of Army Staff - Pakistan is also requested to provide fullest moral and logistic support to the Government of Pakistan by playing constructive and exertive role in this regard in line with wishes of Citizens of Pakistan.
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