Kalabagh Dam (KBD): The bone of contention

Muhammad Ahmed
The once most cheap and natural project because of its location is today’s obnoxious. Why? This project was politicized to gain personal benefits. It is waiting for the consensus of the provinces which does not seem in the near future. It is located 16 KM upside of Kalabagh town and 194 KM downside Tarbela and it is the last point where the reservoir can be built and the only location where the water of the Kabul River can be stored. The study on this project was started in 1953 and in 1980, the World Bank approved it as it was technically and economically possible. A study of almost three decades was conducted by both national and international experts, but till today it is still a dream which is waiting to be translated not a reality. It has the capacity to generate 3600 MW of electricity and to store 6.1 MAF (million-acre feet). It is a myth, it is not feasible, created by some political partiesto seek political support from the masses to secure their position in the political arena. They indoctrinated the belief in the masses’ minds, it will convert Sindh into a desert and Nowshera into a waterway, without any logical explanation. ANP leader Asfand Yar Wali Khan said, “Whether they wanted Pakistan or Kalabagh Dam.”Sharmila Faruqui said, “The person who talks about the construction of KBD should be assassinated.” Due to these kinds of political circumstances Political Leadership of the country considers it a powder keg and avoids talking about this issue despite its dire need for Pakistan. Major objections to KBD are raised by Sindh and KPK. Though Sindh has some significant issues,KPK is making baseless objections because it does not see any benefit in it. It is important to mention that at first, when canals were to be constructed, KPK agreed but later when this plan was dropped out due to its expenses, KPK showed hostilitytowards the project. Sindh objects that there is no water available, this project will increase sea intrusion, and will affect Mangrove Forest because the water level will decrease. If there is no water available, then why Bhasha Dam is approved most importantly dams do not consume water they only store water. Sindh’s Mangrove Forest needs 300,000 cusecs of water for its growth which will be available after the construction of KBD (studies show) and to control sea intrusion 10 MAF is suggested by the experts that will also be available after its construction. KPK raises voices that it will drown Nowshera, and it will affect its population and land but in reality, KBD Dam’s maximum height to store water is 915 feet while Nowshera is located at 935 feet height so technically it is not possible. There is no doubt that some people and land will be affected by this project, but it is important to mention that majority of people will be affected from Punjab that has no objection, and the land affected by this project only 11% (100 acres) will be of KPK while 89% (2900 acre) will be of Punjab. The real issue is not the objections of the provinces but the consensus that is only possible through the negotiation of all the provinces to resolve their issues as they resolve the issue of NFC and Water availability in the form of Accord 1991. Today Pakistan is facing climate and water-related problems that are getting worse daily. Water consumption is increasing, glaciers are melting, and food shortages are swelling to counter these problems we need reservoirs like KBD.Recently, we have faced a devastating flood that took 1500+ lives and afflicted a loss of more than $40 billion according to data. To avoid these catastrophes, we need to build reservoirs to increase our storage capacity, today we only store 10% of the water of our rivers while the standard for storing water is 40%. This dam is the need by Pakistan as it will generate 3600 MW of electricity for the country which will help us to meet the need for energy, it will store 6.1 MAF water which will be used for irrigation to increase production and to meet the demandforwater shortage. Moreover, it will help incontrolling floods, saving lives, and billions of dollars forthe state. To conclude, I will say that the trust deficit is the only thing, which is blocking the way of KBD, all provinces should sit in to resolve their issues before it is too late because the climate is changing, the population is increasing, and water is becoming precious day by day. Now, it is up to us to educate our people that KBD is the need of our people and our country.

Similar Posts