Kalabagh Dam: Punjab farmers hail LHC directive to government
M RAFIQUE GORAYA
November 30, 2012: Various representative associations of Punjab farmers have hailed the Lahore High Court direction to the federal government to construct Kalabagh Dam on River Indus as was unanimously approved by the Council of Common Interests on 16.09.1991 and subsequently on 9.5.1998.
Convenor Punjab Water Council, Farooq Bajwa said besides the CCI decisions, the federal government is bound to build Kalabagh Dam under Article IV, sub-article I of the Indus Water Treaty 1960 between Pakistan and India which says that “Pakistan shall use its best endeavours to construct and bring into operation a system of works that will accomplish the replacement from the Western rivers (and other sources of) the water supplies for irrigation canals in Pakistan, which on 15th August, 1947 were dependent on water supplies from the eastern rivers.”
Bajwa said that Pakistan cannot supply 33,000 cusecs water to south Punjab through Chashma Jhelum and Taunsa Punjnad link canals as replacement of Ravi, Sutlej and Beas Rivers given to India under the treaty without building Kalabagh Dam. President PWC Hamid Malhi said water resources of the country are fast depleting, affecting the quality and security of the citizens in the country. He said if the federal government is still reluctant, the Punjab government should take the initiative to build a dam in Mianwali district which is the best site for a dam which could produce more than 1,800 MW electricity and store enough water out of its own share.
He said the Punjab government instead of constructing unnecessary roads, should allocate more funds for conserving water resources and produce cheap electricity for the welfare of Punjab and the country as a whole. Talking to BR, Farmers Associates of Pakistan (FAP) President Dr Tariq Bucha said the federal government is bound to construct big dams under the 1991 Water Apportionment Accord.
Kalabagh Dam is the most technically and financially viable project for which the World Bank and other international financial institutions are more than willing to finance this mega project. He said PPP Chairman late Zulfikar Bhutto had approved this project and build the necessary infrastructure to start the actual construction. The most respected engineers of KP, like former Wapda chairman Shamsul Mulk had already advocated construction of this multi-purpose project of national importance.