The government seems to have a firm opinion for the
construction of new dams to face the future requirement of water in view
of the growing demand and declining water resources.
In conformity to the policy for sustainable water
supply, the Federal Minister for Water and Power, Aftab Ahmed Khan
Sherpao, has categorically stated that in view of the growing need of
water for the agriculture sector which is the mainstay of the national
economy, the government is determined to construct new dams.
However, as far as the name of the new dams was
concerned it may be described A, B, C dam, however the dams have to come
on the ground.
The new dams will be constructed on the basis of the
report of parliamentary and technical committees on water resources and
consensus among all the four provinces.
Senator Nisar Memon and A.G.N Abbasi are the heads of
the parliamentary committee and the technical committee respectively.
Both of them belong to the province of Sindh as they are well aware
about the water issue especially in the province of Sindh.
At present, the country is confronted with the
shortage of water in the rivers due to slow melting of the snow at the
mountains. The minister also clarified that in order to overcome the
current shortage of water; the water is directly being released in to
the rivers instead of diverting towards Tarbela or Mangla Dams. The
objective for direct release of water into the rivers is to supply
sufficient water to the cotton crop especially in the province of Sindh.
Currently, the Ministry of Water and Power is engaged
with the process of capacity building of the existing dams including
Mangla, Gomal Zam, Mirani, Sabakzai and Satpara dams which will add 4.44
million acre storage capacity of these projects at an estimated cost of
Rs 84 billion. While the newly launched project of Munda Dam has
attracted foreign investment worth one billion dollars.
In order to reinforce canal system, work is in
progress on new canals namely Greater Thal Canal, Rainee Canal and
Kachhi Canal at a cost of Rs81 billion to irrigate 2.65 million acres of
System improvement works worth Rs127 billion
commenced in all the four provinces such as modernization of barrages,
rehabilitation of irrigation system and lining of irrigation channels to
save 2.62 million-acre feet of water.
Hydropower projects worth Rs 4 billion namely Khan
Khwar, Aliai Khawar, Dubair Khwar, Golen Gol and Jinnah Barrage has been
commenced to generate 525mw of affordable hydropower to facilitate
reduction in power tariffs.
Despite having a strong agriculture base, Pakistan
lacks in effective water management system mainly because of excessive
politicization of the agriculture by the fuel lords.
Right from the beginning the agriculture sector is
dominated by a strong lobby of rural based politicians who have a strong
say in the power corridors who besides serving the party interests have
to protect their own interests.
These politicians, in order to remain in the picture,
need some issue to play with the gallery. Some of the issues such as
Kashmir dispute, construction of Kalabagh Dam, distribution of resources
among the provinces are used by the politicians as the tool for their
survival in the political world.
Kalabagh Dam issue is one of them. This is one of the
issues which are generally used by the politicians while they are out of
power. Amazingly, overnight they become the staunch supporter for the
construction of Kalabagh Dam, but whenever they are on the other side of
the table they start making hue and cry over the construction of the
dam. It is worth mention that the previous government have spent over Rs
one billion for preparation of the feasibility study of that project,
yet it has been made a bone of contention by the political parties
without giving a serious thought on the technical recommendations of the
experts for construction of that project of vital importance for the
Sindh and Balochistan provinces are worst affected
and victimized by dam issues, apart from opposing Kalabagh Dam both
provincial never tried sincerely for the construction of dams within
their provinces at their provincial resources throughout the
independence. In a result huge water goes into waste without
Sindh and Balochistan provinces could have about 100
more dams today if the provincial and national level politicians had
knowledge about basic water management system. The politicians never
raised voice against upward surge of POL prices, Power and Gas prices,
which directly caused living cost going out of the hands from middle
class and lower class people.
Dam issue is also life for feudal system in both the
provinces, dam issue is opened during specific times on specific
political scenario to achieve certain motives and to divert the
citizen's attention from sensitive matters.
Foreign funded NGOs are also involved in the dirty
game, they arrange protests rallies, and demonstrations and hunger
strike but none of them emphasized upon dams in their provinces but
opposed government with the threats and demands of resignations.
Whenever the politicians were questioned about basic professional Water
Management System and the reasons for not making any efforts for Dams in
their areas and provinces, they had no answer. This is very interesting
that one of the leaders leading protest rally at Karachi Press Club
against Kalabagh dam when asked for details of a dam, and the place
where he would support to construct the dam, he said no dam should be
constructed in any place of the country as that would be disaster for