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Bhasha project hit snags: Govt urged to construct Kalabagh dam

The Punjab Forum has said that after the refusal from the international donors to finance Diamer-Bhasha dam, government should seriously think about construction of Kalabagh dam, a statement said on Friday.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has failed to fulfill its commitment to fund Bhasha dam, while the World Bank has already refused funding over a lame excuse, which is a serious blow to Pakistan, it said.

The four-year delay in funding has added $500 million per annum to the $12 billion cost of the project and deprived Pakistan of $8 billion in annual benefits at the rate of $2 billion per annum, said Baig Raj, president of the Punjab Forum.

“We have already lost over $36 billion due to delay in the construction of Kalabagh dam. The government must now consider construction of Kalabagh dam since both the ADB and the World Bank have no objection to funding it,” he said.

Opposition to the construction of Kalabagh dam is not based on technical grounds, rather it is a political issue being fanned on the behest of India to destabilise Pakistan, he added.

Raj said that the manner in which the government abandoned the Kalabagh dam amounts to an unforgivable crime. Instead of taking up the project for national debate, dialogue at the Council of Common Interest, or the parliament, the government simply shelved it for good without considering consequences, he added.

Expressing sorrow over the loss of lives and property in the recent floods in Nowshera, he said, the only way to save this city in the future is construction of the Kalabagh dam, while ANP is responsible for the losses, as it is one of the biggest opponents of the dam.

He called upon the people of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to pressurise the ANP leadership to change the stance for the bright future of their coming generations. Raj said that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh will not become arid zones if the dam is constructed.

Bhasha dam will not help irrigate agricultural lands, as no canal can be made in the hilly terrain, while the Kalabagh dam will help water seven million acres of land and produce 3,800MW. It will have a positive impact on the lives of millions of people, he added.

The Punjab Forum called upon the politicians to stop opposing the construction of the Kalabagh dam so that the national consensus can be built to guarantee prosperity.

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