In Punjab, people have a strange sense of humor You see very unique kinds of signs in the markets During winters, I saw sign in a shop that said: Customers with cold hands should only ‘Salam’ with their mouths (no handshake!) Another very common sign in the markets is: No credit-buying (udhaar) until Kalabagh Dam is made What is this Kalabagh Dam issue? Kalabagh is located in the north-west end of Punjab Where Punjab meets KPK This area is famous across Pakistan for its Iron Ore reserves, Nawab of Kalabagh, and the dangerous bridge It used to be a wooden bridge, but a road has been built on it and it’s not that dangerous anymore But, Kalabagh’s most famous thing is a dam that was never made Even though Tarbela Dam and Kalabagh Dam were scheduled to be made together But, back then, WAPDA officials and Government ministers believed that That Tarbela Dam alone is enough for next 50 years And Kalabagh will generate even more electricity than Tarbela Dam So what’s the point of producing so much electricity?
Where would keep so much power? How right-minded they were… weren’t they? If check out this area on Google Maps We realize that Indus has a huge amount of water here Second thing we notice is that the mountains are naturally creating a dam Mountains surround three sides already
Build a wall on one side, and your dam is ready The design for this dam was complete in 1988 But, back then, our political leadership was so busy in leg-pulling each other That nobody paid attention to the country And, with the passage of time, the very project of this dam was washed down What happened is that KPK and Sindh provinces developed reservations against this dam KPK’s leaders claim that if this dam is made It will drown Nowshera, a city in KPK, 200 KM away They claim that Nowshera is only a little above the level of river water And, if the dam is made, then water in the Indus will rise and drown the city Jamaat-e-Islami of KPK goes as far as claiming that this dam will drown Mardan, Peshawar and Swabi as well Experts say that there’s zero chance of any city drowning because to this dam On the other hand, Sindh province claims that if this dam is made The delta areas, where Indus meets Arabian Sea Sea-waters will come up the stream and salinize the whole area Which means, that the sweet (drinking) water of Indus keeps the sea-water pushed back If the amount of water reduces, then the salty sea-water will rise up and leave the whole area salinize If we look at this area on Google Maps, we realize that there aren’t any crops being produced anyway The point of salinization shouldn’t rise because the land isn’t being used anyway So, what’s the real problem?
Why are these provinces against Kalabagh Dam? *The Secret Behind The Curtain* For last 12 years, Pakistan has faced severe shortfall of electricity And whatever electricity we do have, it is ridiculously high-priced Most expensive in the South Asian region On the other hand, the situation is that floods come every 2-3 years Hundreds of millions of rupees are wasted, people die, families get destroyed The solution for both floods and electricity shortfall, is dams! In fact, dams have another plus point Which is that when we don’t have enough dams, we produce electricity through petroleum And petroleum we have to import And wealth flies out of the country The country gets buried with deficit Had Kalabagh Dam been made, it would be producing 3600 megawatts of power Which would cost around Rs. 1.5/- per unit Today, we’re producing this electricity through diesel
At Rs. 11/- to Rs. 15/- per unit And, it destroys the environment as well If these dams are in everyone’s favor, why are these provinces against it? * Spilling The Secrets * When a project hangs in the balance for as long as this project has The realities come out Print media has published all the secrets That who is against it, and why KPK’s areas come under danger only if If the dam’s height is kept very high Because then the river water will rise greatly But obviously, the experts have not designed to dam to drown half of KPK The real problem is that the lake of this dam will be in KPK But the dam would be made in Punjab What this means is that Punjab will get royalty of the electricity While KPK will have to sacrifice its land Sindh’s argument is a little different Back in 1988, when the design of this dam was completed Sindh feared that Punjab might take away a lot of water through canals If Punjab takes all the water, Sindh will die out of thirst In 1991, all four provinces signed a pact And resolved this issue once and for all That which province will get how much water This pact is available on the Indus River System Authority’s website It clearly states how much water can each province take Any provinces can make new canals, or terminate the old ones Build new dams or decomission old ones Water-share will not change No province can take more than their quota Even though, Kalabagh Dam’s design doesn’t contain any canals whatsoever But even if a canal is added, Punjab’s share wouldn’t increase It just cannot happen that Punjab takes away Sindh’s water, KPK takes away Punjab’s water or Gilgit Baltistan takes away KPK’s water This is not some street cricket where the one who has a bat gets to play first On KPK’s reservation, Shehbaz Sharif gave a simple solution He proposed that Punjab’s area where the dam (not the lake) is supposed to be built, should be given to KPK Then the royalty of dam’s electricity will also go to KPK But, Pakistanis are always late in coming up with solutions The problem is that now this issue is being used by the politicians who believe in ‘Divide and Rule!’ Now, it is near-impossible that this dam will ever be made No government will have the audacity to build this dam on the cost of enraging two provinces But now, our responsibility is that dams that are actually building Such as Diamir Bhasha dam and Dasu Dam etc. We shouldn’t make these dams controversial
We should believe in the experts And complete the projects quickly We should be Pakistanis first, Sindhi, Balochi, Pathans second. Produce low-cost energy
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