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December 7, 2017



Provinces asked to develop consensus on KBD

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has once again asked the provinces to develop a consensus on the building of decades-old controversial Kalabagh Dam (KBD), as building water reservoirs is necessary for the country’s water, food and energy security as well as boosting economic and social development.
“The Kalabagh issue has been politicised and all the provinces should resolve this issue with mutual consensus”, Minister for Water Resources Syed Javed Ali Shah said this while talking to media after attending the launch of a visual guide based on the Fourth National Flood Protection Plan. The forum was organised by LEAD Pakistan in collaboration with the National Flood Commission and the Asia Foundation.
“Those who are opposing its [Kalabagh Dam] construction should satisfy us, or let our experts satisfy them through facts.” He further said that by constructing the Kalabagh Dam, around 80 percent of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces (which are opposing it) will benefit, as instead of wasting water, we should utilise it, he added.
It is pertinent to mention that last month the Sindh Assembly had once again passed a resolution against the controversial Kalabagh Dam and termed the project a ‘dead horse’. The move came after the Federal Minister for Water Resources Javed Shah’s remarks in parliament in favour of constructing the dam. Besides, three provincial assemblies of Sindh, Balochistan and KP had decades-old resolution against the dam. Javed Ali Shah said that the southern Punjab is the food basket of Pakistan, and for not building Kalabagh Dam, this area is adversely affected. He said, “After talking on the issue [Kalabagh Dam] in parliament, the Sindh Assembly has brought a resolution against me, but as I understand the importance of this dam, I talk about it.”
He further said when Pakistan went to the international court against India, the stance of New Delhi was that Pakistan was not using the water but wasting it. He

said that India is continuously violating the Indus Water Treaty and has bad designs on water.
To a question, he said that in the presence of the Indus River System Authority, nobody can steal water of other province. The authority’s chairman has been appointed from the small provinces as to mitigate their sense of deprivation.
“We are letting more water fall into the sea, against what is the allowed limit. For controlling this trend and benefit the nation and economy, we must have built big water reservoirs,” he maintained.
Earlier, speaking during the launch event of visual guide based on Fourth National Flood Protection Plan, the minister called water the socio-economic lifeline of Pakistan. Answering a question regarding the Water Policy, Shah said that under current political uncertainty, the policy can’t be approved.
Speaking to the participants, Chairman Federal Flood Commission Ahmad Kamal said that latest data from the PMD shows that an additional 23-25 districts that were earlier not vulnerable to urban floods are now under threat. He said that floods of historical proportions during the last decade are a stark reminder of the long journey ahead for a flood resilient future. He said, “Historically, floods occurred from North to South, 2010 and 2011 floods took place from East to West which shows that we can’t just go by historical standards, we need to be flexible.
LEAD Pakistan CEO Ali Tauqeer Sheikh said that all the development projects including motorways and CPEC infrastructure need to be well thought out in the context of floods.