LAHORE-Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA) chairman Zafar Mehmood has said that work on various hydel power projects is well on the way and three big power projects will be commissioned next year, which would generate around 2500MW of electricity. This would eliminate loadshedding to a great extend. He said that genuine reservations of the stakeholders on Kalabagh dam would be addressed and WAPDA is ready to work hand in hand with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry in this regard.

He was talking to LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder and Vice President Nasir Saeed here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Friday. Chairman WAPDA and LCCI Senior Vice President suggested forming a committee comprising of chief ministers of all provinces on Kalabagh dam.

Former Chairman WAPDA Tariq Hameed, former LCCI presidents Mian Misbah-ur-Rehman, Shahid Hassan Sheikh, Muhammad Ali Mian, Sohail Lashari and Former Chairman Punjab Board of Investment & Trader (PBIT) Abdul Basit also spoke on the occasion while former LCCI Vice President Aftab Ahmed Vohra, LCCI Executive Committee Members Mian Abdul Razzaq, Iftikhar Bashir Chaudhry and Shahzad Ahmed were present in the meeting.

The LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder spoke highly about the rising energy needs and importance of new water reservoirs in general and Kalabagh Dam in particular. He said that share of hydropower should be enhanced in energy mix to bring down the energy cost which is a biggest reason of decline in exports.

Chairman WAPDA informed the participants that Nelum Jhelum project of 960 MW, 4th tunnel of Terbal of 1410 MW and Golen Gol hydropower project of over 100 MW would be operational during the next year while work on Dasu dam is also well on the way. Part 1 and Part 2 of Dasu dam would produce 2160 & 2160 MW electricity respectively. He said that land acquisition process of Bhasha dam has been completed.

Zafar Mehmood said that all misunderstandings should be removed about Kalabagh dam. He said that KBD would produce 1550 million units of electricity annually. He said that wrong perceptions about Kalabagh dam have been generated through rumors while the facts and figures are quite different.

“Operational control of Kalabagh Dam should be given to Sindh to address its reservations and Sindh’s role in IRSA should also be more powerful”, Chairman WAPDA said. He said that Kalabagh dam is beneficial for all and it would not be a threat for Noshera or Peshawar valley.

LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder said that projects of national importance should not be unduly controversial. He said that policy of criticism for criticism is damaging the national cause. Reservations could be addressed through talks. While announcing the unconditional support for Kalabagh dam, Almas Hyder said that it would help economic growth, would bring down the oil import bill and would also reduce the trade & current account deficits.

He said that we should focus on the fact and discuss the technical aspects and benefits of Kalabagh dam instead of blaming each other. He said that dams always beneficial for the country. Kalabagh dam would be good for all and it would provide additional water to the provinces.

“Pakistan is not a major oil producing country and it could not afford to generate electricity through costly thermal resources. Pakistan needs cheap hydropower to bring down the energy cost to boost its manufacturing sector and national exports”, Almas Hyder concluded. The LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed also called to generate cheap electricity through hydel resources.