LAHORE Stressing the need for construction of Kalabagh Dam, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer said here on Friday that it would be suicidal for the country if the dam is not built in the near future. 'If we can negotiate water treaty with India, then why can't the provinces sit together and hammer out a negotiated settlement of Kalabagh Dam, so vital for our economy', Taseer told a news conference at Governor's House. He was accompanied by PPP leaders, Dr. Fakhruddin Ch, Aurangzeb Burki, Hafeez Malik and others. Giving arguments in favour of KBD, he said existing dams had lost 30 per cent of their capacity to store water and generate electricity due to silting problem; and if new dams were not built immediately, the country would be face serious energy and power crisis. All feasibility studies regarding KBD are complete and the project could be initiated any time, he said, adding, that new dams should be top priority of the present government. It merits mentioning here that Punjab Governor Salman Taseer has emerged as a vociferous proponent of Kalabagh Dam within the PPP, at a time when the top leadership of his party is shying away from its national responsibility of implementing this vital project of national importance, solely because of the fear of losing vote bank in Sindh. Whenever there is greater quantity of water in the river system due to floods, we would face destruction like we have experienced this year. And when it is in lesser quantity, we would have power crisis and our agriculture would also suffer, he pleaded, adding, that planning should be made now because the existing dams would stop generating electricity in a short period of time. The KBD, if built, would be the only dam which could save the country from flood destruction by storing the rain water, he said, and added that if India had not built dams on Ravi, Sutlej and Beas rivers, entire Punjab (on Pakistan side) would have faced massive destruction this year. Taseer said that India had the capacity to store 20 per cent of flood water, whereas Pakistan could store only nine per cent. Responding to a question, he said that other provinces had also passed resolutions against KBD besides Sindh province. The Governor also quoted examples of Egypt and five US states where enormous progress has been witnessed after construction of new dams, which, he said, were also controversial like KBD, but their leadership resolved the disputes through negotiations. He said KBD was a technical matter which had been politicised by vested interests. Replying to a question, he said that he had taken up this issue with partys top leaders who had promised to resolve the issue on priority basis after completion of rehabilitation phase in the flood-hit areas. If the issue is not resolved now, the country would face numerous problems in the days to come, Taseer warned, adding that there should be an open debate on the subject. The Governor agreed with a questioner that an All Parties Conference could also be convened to evolve consensus on the issue. Later, in his informal talk with a group of journalists in his office, Taseer feared that those opposing the KBD might be getting money from India to oppose the project. Talking about rehabilitation of flood victims, he said,people wont spare us this time if we did not come to their help in their difficult time.. He said Federal government was actively engaged in repairing the damaged rail tracks and other infra-structure, and Punjab government should also do its part of the job by re-building roads, schools, colleges etc destroyed by the raging floods. To a question, he stressed fair distribution of financial resources among all regions and said that Southern Punjab should also be given its due share.