LAHORE Destruction caused by last years floods would have been much less if the country had set up more dams, IRSA Chairman Rao Irshad Ali Khan said on Thursday. Speaking in 'Barwaqt programme of the Waqt News channel, he said had Tarbela Dam not been there, the worst ever floods in the countrys history would have swept away Jinnah and Sukkur Barrages. The damage was contained because a lot of flood water was stored by Tarbela, he said. Rao said there was just no comparison of the production cost of the electricity generated by dams and the rental power plants. The hydel power cost only Rs one per unit, while the one produced by an RPP was Rs 18. Dams, he said, would help reduce countrys dependence on imported oil, which was consuming a good deal of foreign exchange. Highlighting the importance of dams, he said, they paid back investments made on them just in five years. Rao said Tarbela and Mangla were silting up with the passage of time, which made it necessary for the country to have more dams. At present, he said, 31 acre feet of water was being wasted every year, which was a huge loss. He denied that Punjabs water was being given to Sindh. Answering a question, he said objection against Kalabagh Dam were political, not technical. Water expert Salman Najeeb Khan said Kalabaghs enemies were Pakistans enemies. The biggest obstacle to the project, he said, was the family of the late Wali Khan. Maintaining that the country could not afford to import oil to meet its electricity requirements, he said the government would have to go for reservoirs. In his opinion the nation would extend overwhelming support in case a referendum was held on Kalabagh. He rubbished fears about water theft in case Kalabagh was built. Pakistan would become a super power in case it set up three dams, including Kalabagh. Dams, he said, would also benefit Sindh. He believed that nobody would be able to face public pressure in case people came out on the streets on this subject. He criticized the role of Gen Musharraf on the issue. First, he recalled, the former president said he would set up six dams, but then started saying whether he should set up Kalabagh to save Pakistan. He said a few opponents of dams could not resist peoples pressure.