Kalabagh dam controversy

Kalabagh dam controversy

Just out of blue, opposition Senators imaginatively raised the controversy of Kalabagh dam project in Senate. Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, while giving ruling on the matter, said that decision about construction of Kalabagh dam needs consensus among the provinces and approval of Council of Common Interest. Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Babar Awan dispelled the wrong impression of making decision on launching of this dam without the approval from provinces.

Per capita water availability has gone down from 5000 cubic meter to 1000 cubic meters. The water storage capacity has reduced in the reservoirs of Tarbella and Mangla dams, which is now hardly enough for 36 days, whereas other countries have developed water storage capacity for 120 days.

Kalabagh dam project had been conceived in mid 1960s and it was not controversial even after the completion of Tarbella dam in 1975. From 1985, only ANP leadership opposed this project, without giving a plausible technical explanation of their opposition to this dam. The only objection was that of back-flooding, which occurred in July 2010 even though no mega storage dame existed in Punjab downstream Tarbella on the Indus River. A Sindhi Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo did make serious effort to build consensus in a meeting of the Federal Cabinet held in April 1985 in Governor’s House Peshawar. Minutes of that meeting, if available, can provide a useful input for building consensus on this multidimensional hydropower project. There will be no risk of back-flooding to Khyber Pukhtunkhwa when Mohamand dam on River Swat and Diyamer Basha dam on River Indus are completed.

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