LAHORE - Energy shortage is not the real issue of Pakistan rather the major problem is lack of inexpensive and cheaper electricity which can be achieved by developing consensus on construction of Kalabagh Dam.

These views were expressed by the speakers in the first meeting of LCCI Standing Committee on Kalabagh Dam held with its chairman Abdul Basit in the chair while key speakers included Sindh Tas Water Council Pakistan chairman M Suleman Khan and IEP Lahore centre chairman Eng Khalid Sajjad.

Other speakers included Quwwat-e-Akhuwwat-e-Awam central leader Tahir Anjum, STWCP vice chairman Syed Zaheeruddin, Co-chairman STWCP Tufail Malik, chief organizer Syed Nisar Safdar, Add secretary Shahid Rana Advocate, Eng Jamshaid Qureshi and Aziz Zafar Azad.

The participants of the meeting suggested the need to start awareness campaign regarding importance of KBD in those areas of Sindh as well as KPK which are facing water scarcity including Dit Mitthi, Sanghar and Tharparkar in Sindh and DI Khan in KPK.

The standing committee chairman said that the cheapest energy could be generated through hydel resources and construction of Kalabagh Dam was crucial for Pakistan’s energy need. He called for consensus on Kalabgah Dam by setting aside the politics.

“Kalabagh Dam will add water of rains to the Indus River instead of reducing its water flow while the reservoir will store only rainwater instead of a wrong consideration that it would accumulate Indus water,” pointed out Abdul Basit.  He presented calculations that a water of 1 million acre feet generates revenue of about $1.5 billion dollar per annum. Hence, the KBD can provide the benefit of up to $18-19 billion annually through its water storage.  IEP Lahore centre chairman Syed Khalid Sajjad said that hike in electricity tariff was due to corruption, incompetence and poor political leadership. He said successive government intentionally pushed the country for thermal power generation. He said if Nawaz government started Kalabagh Dam instead of motorway the country would have been benefited more. Khalid Sajjad said Pakistan was far behind to generate cheap energy and if electricity tariff continued to grow with this pace it would be out of the reach of everyone.

Sindh Tas Water Council Pakistan chairman M Suleman Khan said foundation of costly energy generation was laid down in 1994 by focusing thermal power generation. He said country was facing 5,000 to 6,000 megawatt shortfall while generating only 6,000 megawatt hydel generation while this shortfall will reach 24,000 megawatt by 2025 if it is not managed. He said the government should remove all the obstacles hindering the construction of dams.  Suleman Khan said the voluminous record proves that the objections being raised by some people in Sind and KPK is the result of lack of correct information. All the engineers in the country are one on the point that no damage of lands will be caused in any province but the land will be saved from floods and from extreme water scarcity, he added.

The speakers said that construction of Kalabagh Dam is necessary for strengthening the economy of the country. They said construction of Kalabagh Dam was vital for addressing all challenges facing the country. They said the country would get rid of IMF and stand on its own feet if the Kalabagh Dam was built. They said expressed dissatisfaction over Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s response, saying that those condemning the dam are unaware of its importance.

They said construction of dams including Kalabagh Dam have become imperative at this critical juncture when the country is facing acute shortage of electricity.