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Govt urged to build KBD for cheap energy

THE incumbent new government should announce construction of Kalabagh Dam and other two mega reservoirs in order to provide cheap electricity as the previous government has lost the election only due to energy crisis.

These views were expressed by the experts in Jang Economic Session on ‘Is the Kalabagh Dam still doable project’, here on Thursday. The panellists were Dr Salman Shah, Dr Izhar-ul-Haq, Khurshid Ahmed, Shahzad Azam Khan, and Jamshed Cheema while hosted by Sikandar Hameed Lodhi and Intikhab Tariq.

Dr Salman Shah said current energy crisis started in 80s when Kalabagh Dam was made controversial as economy was growing at 7 to 8 percent annual growth rate. He said the then government ignored hydel energy generation and handed over country to IPPs. He said RPP units produced energy at Rs 25 per unit with 100 percent efficiency and Rs 50 per unit at half efficiency. He said people opposing Kalabagh Dam are the enemy of Pakistan while construction of this dam will not put the sovereignty of country at stake. He said had PPP started Kalabagh Dam construction in 2008 it would not have lost the election 2013.

Dr Izhar-ul-Haq said Sindh would be benefited more than Punjab from construction of Kalabagh Dam while more land of Punjab will be used than KP in its construction. He said out of 50MAF underground water, 42MAF was used by Punjab while Kalabagh Dam will benefit other provinces. He said Kalabagh Dam could have saved Nowshera from flood damages while KP should understand the importance of dam to save province from flood. He said downstream water of Kotri could also be ensured from Kalabagh Dam. He said both Sindh and Punjab will get 37 percent water from Kalabagh Dam and electricity will be supplied to national grid. He said Kalabagh Dam could be completed in five years while Bhasha Dam in 8 years.

Khurshid Ahmed said Pakistan has 70,000 to 80,000 mega watt energy generation capacity while hydel generation could be produced at Rs 1.5 per unit. He said World Bank approved Kalabagh Dam but Pakistan failed to start its construction. He said the Prime Minister should not hand over the energy sector into private hand. Shahzad Azam Khan said KBD was sacrificed on international opposition with the involvement of local people.

He said Lahore High Court has already given decision in favour of Kalabagh Dam. He said the federal government with the support of KP government should create consensus on Kalabagh Dam as further delay in it will be like committing suicide. Jamshed Cheema said uncontrolled water usage is the major cause of destruction while Kalabagh Dam will provide energy and water storage facilities.

He said KP population was not against Kalabagh Dam but Sindhi people were opposing it while newly elected government should agree with the PPP and MQM for construction.

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