Kalabagh Dam: A lingering controversy

The debate surrounding the project is wide-ranging, from the very need to build large dams to compensation for IDPs.

Irfan Ghauri April 03, 2011
The construction of proposed Kalabagh dam evokes strong opposition in some parts of the country while it receives support from other sections of our society.

The provinces had been at odds with each other on the proposed hydroelectric project conceived decades ago, stipulating building of another dam on the Indus River, having the capacity to generate 3,600 MW electricity, besides serving as a major water reservoir.

The debate surrounding the project is wide-ranging, from the very need to build large dams to fair compensation for displaced persons to the adverse environmental and social impacts. A few studies are available on these subjects but they all contradict each other and none has been accepted as authentic by all parties.

The net result is ever-increasing sufferings of this nation of 180 million souls, now going through the agony of prolonged power outages, water shortages and much more. Social and economic implications of this indecisiveness on the part of successive regimes have only added to the miseries of the people.

Former President Pervez Musharraf, whose nine year tenure is blamed for current power crisis, made some statements in support of the dam but then backed out. After the 2008 elections, the  then-water and power minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, announced that the project is cancelled due to opposition from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh.

After this announcement, Kalabagh Dam seemed to be a closed chapter but in fact it is not. After the devastating 2010 floods, which inundated one-fifth of the country, Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani said: “Had the Kalabagh dam been built the devastation from flood would have been averted.”

Most of the comments for and against the project are based more on rhetoric than any scientific logic. The ambivalence is serving none but costing the country dearly.
Irfan Ghauri
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


bilal | 12 years ago | Reply i think this dam shud not be built....bcoz it will minimize the water ti sindh and because less water will go to the sea ....thatta and badin which are very low lying areas will go down in the sea
amjad | 13 years ago | Reply aoa , all No one here is expert on water issuses . we just beleive wat our affiliated Political Leaders says . and then we also blam that people from FATA are illitrate as thay beleive wat IMAM MASJID says , without research . just look into our own deeds .we r not better then them as for as national interest comes . I request all in this forum to search from ethentic hydro power engineers . PLZ donot go bye polical leaders , they ALL are more affiliated to their own MONEY MAKING GAMES . No one is concerned to PAKISTAN , they all have 1st option to live in DUBAI , SWISS , LONDON ,. only we COMMON MAN will be living here , So plz think , do not go bye politition as they also donot have any knowledge of hydro power and they just give statmemnts. this action of them is as a cobblers goes to doctor and tells him that from today on ward you will not use some particular medicen , PLZ JUST USE UR OWN BRAIN and find answers from technicle people and not from political people.bye
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