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LCCI welcomes decision on Kalabagh Dam

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry welcomed the Lahore High Court’s decision on Kalabagh Dam and termed it inevitable because of an acute shortage of energy, fast depleting irrigation water resources and frequent occurrence of floods in the Indus basin.

In a statement issued here, the LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar, Senior Vice President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh and Vice President Mian Abuzar Shad said that the LHC verdict had given a new lease on life to people who were suffering due to multiple reasons including non-availability of electricity.

The LCCI office-bearers said that the federal government should implement the LHC verdict to save arable lands from turning barren. Only because of government silence over Kalabagh Dam, the country lost Rs132 billion annually. This amount could be saved by initiating construction of Kalabagh Dam.

The LCCI office-bearers said that there was no threat to Nowshehra city as it was 150 feet above water level. They said that it was very unfortunate that decision makers had nothing to lose. There was no electricity for the people but the politicians and the top bureaucrats received it free of cost. They said that Kalabagh Dam was not only beneficial to Punjab but would be more helpful in erasing poverty from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as it would irrigate 800,000 acres of cultivable land that lay 100 to 150 feet above the Indus River level.

According to the LCCI office bearers the land could only be brought under cultivation if the river level was raised and if Kalabagh Dam were built. They said the other alternative was to pump the water – and that would be very costly. Furthermore, creditable studies have indicated that pumping water for potential cultivable land would cost farmers Rs5,000 per acre per year while canal water after construction of Kalabagh Dam would cost only Rs400 per acre per year.

An opinion gained widespread support across the country that the losses of recent floods in Pakistan, which were estimated to be more than $45 billion could have been reduced if big dams and water reservoirs were in place.

Another significant aspect connected with the construction of Kalabagh Dam is the surety of sufficient cheaper electricity.

Electricity generation through thermal sources is estimated to cost almost Rs16 per unit whereas the same can be produced at Rs2.5 to Rs3 through hydel.

In the present scenario, the country imports oil worth over $12 billion a year even as it struggles to remain competitive in the national and international markets.

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