With consensus, government can go ahead with Kalabagh: PM

Published: August 10, 2010
Email
ADB and World Bank to be called in to assess damage

ADB and World Bank to be called in to assess damage

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has said that the government can go ahead with the Kalabagh Dam if there is political consensus on the issue.

“If there is consensus, then the government can go ahead with the construction of the dam as it could have averted the massive death and destruction caused by the recent floods,” said Gilani, responding to a question during his visit to Multan on Monday.

Gilani said that the Pakistani nation stands united and is capable of confronting any challenges that it might face. “Pakistan belongs to every Pakistani and they are the owners of its resources and assets. August 1947 is remembered for giving us a separate country and August 2010 should be remembered for showing us as a rising nation,” he said.

The prime minister said that the floods had spiralled out of the government’s control and appealed to the international community and donors to act immediately as thousands across Pakistan were still marooned. “The loss caused by the floods is irrecoverable and the country has been pushed back many years. The magnitude of this devastation is more than the nation’s resources,” he said, but assured that all resources will be utilised to rehabilitate those who had lost their homes and families in the disaster. “It is the people’s government and whatever we can do for them, we are. But, the losses are far too stupendous.”

Gilani said that it was difficult to estimate losses for the time being due to continuous rain. “The amount of water flow upstream is increasing and the second spell of monsoon rains has also begun. Thus, more and more water is pouring in and the number of affectees can end up in many, many millions. Once the flood subsides, we will ask the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank to assess the losses and share it with the world,” he said.

He said that in his telephonic conversation with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he told her that the country had suffered tremendous losses and added that Japan and Nato had promised to enhance aid to Pakistan. “What we immediately need is food, water, medicines and camps for which federal government is doing everything possible. We have made arrangements for food and tents are being dispatched,” he said, adding that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is coordinating and distributing foreign aid equally among the affected areas.

Later, the prime minister visited the Circuit House in Multan where he dispelled the impression that there were differences between the center and Punjab regarding rehabilitation aid for flood survivors. “Punjab is demanding Rs10 billion, which is peanuts considering the enormity of the damage caused by the floods,” he said.

He reiterated that the federal government will cooperate with all provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to implement a unanimous strategy to cope with the post-flood situation. “Punjab is my province and rehabilitation needs far more than just cooperation. But resources will be provided to all provinces according to their relief and rehabilitation needs,” he said.

He said that political parties had risen above their ideologies and petty differences to help those in need. “As the senior vice chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), I have asked party workers to help affected people in their respective areas.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2010.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (8)

  • Ali Haider
    Aug 10, 2010 - 10:28AM

    If it is so important why can’t we just go ahead and make it? Why t can we not do something in the interest of this ill-fated country? Why do we let the corrupt stand in our way?Recommend

  • Asmat Jamal
    Aug 10, 2010 - 11:01AM

    Talking of KALA BAGH DAM when Pakhtunkhwa is drowning in Indus and Kabul Rivers is like telling them that now only Nowshera is drowned, Mardan, Sawabi and Charsadda should also drown.
    Recommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    Aug 10, 2010 - 11:21AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Flood is definitely is the greatest calamity from Allah Almighty and this is all due to our bad deeds wrought by our own hands.First of all we all have to repent before Allah Almighty and quit great sins as soon as possible.Secondly why the present government now emphasizing on the construction of Kala Bagh Dam because when Musharraf’s government tried to build it Sindh,NWFP and especially PPPP were against it and tried to launch a campaign against the Kala Bagh Dam and when present government was formed Raja Pervez Ashraf announced clearly that Kala Bagh Dam issued is closed.Kala Bagh Dam has been the need of the hour and if Pakistan had Kala Bagh Dam now we have enough water for cultivation and power generation and we don’t face the greatest loss and damage we are facing now.Recommend

  • athar
    Aug 10, 2010 - 11:40AM

    Its never too late. Late batter than never.Recommend

  • Aug 10, 2010 - 12:52PM

    KALA BAGH has always been a bone of contention between the two small provinces and Punjab. During the last sixty years no consensuses has been developed to construct it owing to strong ethnic politics in the country. The current flood havoc must awake us to the reality that construction of new dams is now vital to circumvent future destructions caused by flood.
    Our tragedy is, after a span of sixth years, ethnic politics still play a major role in the politics of our country and the key factor behind the survival of ethno politics is the autonomy issue. If we had followed Indian footprints and have soothed the grievances of small provinces well in time, we would have emerged as a single nation, fairly earlier
    The more we counterbalance the grievances of smaller provinces the more it would weaken the ethno politics as the nationalist politicians would be left with no issue to arise the narrow nationalism of different ethnic groups.

    Politicians must realize the gravity of the situation and should start thinking beyond the circumference of provincial politics, and must endeavor to develop consensuses over the construction of new dams whether it is KALA BAGH or any other site.
    Recommend

  • Asmat Jamal
    Aug 10, 2010 - 1:48PM

    NO to Kalabagh Dam is loud and clear. God forbid, if Kala bagh Dam was there in present situation, Mardan, Charsadda, Swabi would have drowned along with presently submerged Nowshera.
    People who have visited Nowshera knows that water has submerged 80% of the houses. Boats were rowing over most of the Army installations. Have a heart. I think after so much of blood shed and floods in Pakhtunkhwa, what ever is left will be destroyed by Kalabagh DamRecommend

  • Public
    Aug 15, 2010 - 4:31PM

    We only have storage capacity of 12 million akr feet. While 300 million akr feet surplus water is wasted. This huge amount of uncontrolled water causes flood destruction and later we are suffering from water shortage.

    Now provinces (KP, Sindh and Punjab) are saying that they are gone backward by 15 years (approx) due to flood destructions.

    Pakistan is at #136 in this list of 156 Dam making countries.

    Prime Minister Gillani said: “Kalabagh Dam hota too ye na hota”

    Here are few nice and comprehensive discussions about effectiveness of KalaBagh Dam:
    – Kalabagh Dam Blessing For Pakistan (Royal TV) – 1:40

    – Iqbal Latif (Chairman Gulf Fund & Senior Economist) – 10:35

    – Javed Chaudhry (Express Tv) – 3:38Recommend

  • Sep 19, 2010 - 9:18PM

    Just read this:

    http://www.thetrueperspective.com/2010/09/myth-of-dams.html

    If you still think Kalabagh dam will help you or us or any Pakistani, you’re extremely misguided. We do not have 300 million acre feet of excess water. 300 million acre feet of water will drown Asia. We have 137 MAF of water and the water going to sea is 10 MAF. And if you stop this flow, Sindh will parch dry and then die.Recommend

More in Pakistan