LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber has said that construction of the Kalabagh dam will help save 20 million barrels of oil a year needed to produce thermal power.
This will translate into average yearly benefit of Rs33.2 billion, which is currently being spent on the purchase of furnace oil, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry said. He was chairing an executive committee meeting convened to discuss the issue of water. He said that the nation had been suffering this loss every year for the last many years.
“Those who were opposing the Kalabagh dam were not doing any favour to the nation,” he said. “Pakistan is facing an acute water and electricity shortage and the only viable solution is the immediate construction of Kalabagh dam which can be built in three years,” he said. “Pakistan will be devastated by the time Basha dam is commissioned eight years later,” he added.
Chaudhry urged the government to expedite the process of filing its case against India’s Kishanganga dam for international arbitration as the project is likely to divert water from Neelum river to Wullar Lake. This means that the Neelum– Jhelum project would have to be abandoned. “It would adversely affect the huge agricultural land in Azad Kashmir,” he said.
Chaudhry said that there was a dire need to depoliticise the Kalabagh dam issue and the chamber would extend cooperation to the government in achieving consensus on the issue. He said that the government could develop a consensus on the Kalabagh dam as it had done in the case of the National Finance Commission Award and the 18th Amendment. “If it succeeds, Pakistan will achieve progress and prosperity.