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Shelved project of Kalabagh dam

29 May, 2008

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The government of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) decided to shelve the controversial Kalabagh dam project once and for all in the name of national reconciliation. It also claimed that a comprehensive approach would end load shedding after 2009.

Addressing a press conference at the Wapda house, Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said Sindh and NWFP had passed resolutions against the construction of the Kalabagh dam and, therefore, its construction could endanger the federation. The minister said funds allocated for its construction would not lapse, but would be spent on other water and power projects.

The minister said the nation had wasted a lot of time debating construction of the Kalabagh dam. “For a strong and united federation, it is better to abandon the project,” he added.

Divulging energy generation plans, he said the government had started energy generation on war footing. “By April 2009, 2,200 megawatts electricity would be added to the national grid,” he said, adding 1,000 megawatts would be generated by IPPs, 200 MW by rental plants and 1,000 MW by intrinsic resources.

“Besides, 3,000 MW will be generated by new projects,” he said, adding 500 megawatts would be added by hydel generation in a few weeks. He said the water situation had been improving, so hydel generation would be increased in a few weeks.

What do you think, have the government taken a right step towards Kalabagh dam?
By shelving this project, would the government generate enough electricity that meets the future needs?
Could the construction of Kalabagh dam endanger the federation?

Reader Comments:

Dams: Need for Decision Making

Controversies on Kalabagh Dam are likely to take turns following Minister for Water and Power's statement that, his party has decided finally and scrapped Kalabagh Dam for good.
Building large water storage dams is a technical requirement on which only technical experts should decide. Various divergent views with no clear sense of direction show lack of resolve to address national problems on solid technical foundations.

Undoubtedly, water is the most precious natural wealth on earth and the mandate of any Government should be to distribute this wealth in most judicial manner to all, also giving due considerations for the needs of future developments for the coming generations. This of course involves power and who wields it, how to share it and the ways the Government should balance it. Obviously, it is not an easy task, as we hardly agree on any division of wealth.The best that the Government can do is, to try to heal the deep and self inflicted wounds torn open wherever and whenever by those who are determined to use power in their control to build their personal present at the cost of the future of their own coming generations. Unfortunately, this is often the nature of power. Destiny of the nation is decided without considering plight of its poor. In such a division, our approach should be, to deal and correct our mistakes of the past, before we chart our course for the future. This would require a confidence building and strong resolve to keep all interest groups aboard and calm the rocking elements to avoid sinking of the ship.

Most of our leaders today see water scarcity as a harbinger of troubled waters ahead. They believe water scarcity inevitably locks peoples, regions and nations in a fierce competitive struggle in which restless millions race to the bottom in fear and propagation of self interest. And thus they maintain, when rivers cross borders, water scarcity leads to water stress, which in turn leads to water wars.

Any Government should, through its policies, strive to contradict above sentiments and see water as a catalyst for peace that brings all parties together neither to build dams nor to tear them down, but to carefully develop water storage dams for building their common future.

To ask to ensure development which is without sacrifices here and there and still sustainable and humane, is like asking a surgeon to operate without inflicting a new wound. We have to go beyond platitudes. Our healing must emerge not through anecdotes but through complex, coherent and cohesive argument that shows clearly where we have been, what happened, why we are in conflict and how we can, with proper understanding, heal ourselves. This would require first, shedding our misconceptions. We should understand that, our demands are too complex, technology too advanced, our leaders too diverse and our options too numerous to allow just one solution for such a complex situation. For an example, imagine a typical dam generating cheap electricity which the engineers worship but ecologist curse. Local tribes complain of losing their culture to it and the native fishermen of their plunge after construction. They refuse to appreciate that, it neither pollutes air, nor its flowing water, provides water for the nearby towns, turns arid soils into rich farmlands and saves their motherland from flood devastation every year. Some farmers and animals are relocated and compensated but accruing economic benefits makes the relocated farmers highly profitable, by creating new farmlands of enormous proportions, as compared to their lost lands. But myopic as the semi-literate leaders of the illiterate are, they need thorough explanations even to convince that, what they want is simple suicide.Therefore the ambitious water storage projects which the true statesmen dream and plan in ages, are just washed down in the floods of political ambitions of a few delusioned leaders, leading masses of the confused and apprehensive farmers on streets with placards reading " Save our beloved River."

M.Saeed, Pakistan - 29 May, 2008

Shelved project of Kalabagh dam

shelving of the project is for no reason other than pleasing those who have brainwashed people into thinking that Punjab will get royaly and Punjab will ultimately benifit the most.these "STUPID" people should be asked that is it OK if foreign companies invest in Pakistan's "cheap" labor and take the profits out of Pakistan? but its not ok for your bothers and sisters to profit? it has been over 60 years but we as a nation have not let go of the caste and creed system inherited from Hindu Imperialism that is the basis of ALL problems facing Pakistan today

Ahmed, Pakistan - 30 May, 2008

Kalabagh Dam

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Zardari are no authority to shelve the Kalabagh Dam project. It is only the Paliament. There were a few reservations of NWFP and Sind which could have been cleared and this mega project should have been completed. These selfish politician will make Pakistani nation a slave of India and they will vanish from the coutry. All those who are opposing the construction of dam are the agents of RAW and getting money from India to raise slogans. No dam is dangerous. Every dam will cover some area with water and some people will be displaced, so why not at Kalabagh dam. It was a pakistani project and not only for Punjab. Mr Zardari you have drowned the nation in drought and darkness.
That shows your nature has not yet changed. You are a biased man.

Iftikhar Ahmad, Pakistan - 02 June, 2008


in my openion i think we must built kalabagh dam because we see that pakistan is facing today lot of problem first of all main problem is the electricity,floor.sugarcane,water and many others.and we can finish those crisis by building dams and work with sincerity..............................,THANK YOU.

ADNAN KHAN JADOON, Pakistan - 04 October, 2009

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