Lahore: The Punjab Forum on Friday said after the refusal of the international donors to finance Diamer-Bhasha Dam, government should seriously think about construction of dam on most viable site in country located at Kalabagh.
Asian Development Bank has gone back on its commitment to fund Bhasha dam while the World Bank has already refused funding over a lame excuse which is a serious blow to Pakistan, it said.The four year delay in funding has added $500 million per year to the $12 billion cost of the project and deprived Pakistan of $8 billion in annual benefits at the rate of $2 billion per year, said Baig Raj, President of the Punjab Forum in a statement issued here today.He said that we have already lost over $36 billion due to delay in construction of Kalabagh dam. The government must now consider construction of Kalabagh dam (KBD) since both ADB and WB have no objection to funding it.Opposition to the construction of KBD is not based on technical grounds, it is a political issue being fanned on the behest of India to destabilise Pakistan, he added.
Baig Raj said that the manner in which the government abandoned the KBD amounts to an unforgivable crime. Instead of taking up the project for national debate, dialogue at Council of Common Interest, or the parliament the government simply shelved it for good without considering consequences.Expressing sorrow over loss of life and property in recent floods in Nowshera, he said that only way to save this city in future is construction of KBD while ANP is responsible for the losses as it is one of the biggest opponents of the dam.He called upon the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to pressurise the leader ship of ANP to change stance for the bright future of their coming generations.
Baig Raj said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh will not become arid zones if the dam is constructed, these provinces will become barren in absence of this mega project.Bhasha dam will not help irrigate agricultural lands as no canal can be made in the hilly terrain while KBD will help water seven million acres of land and produce 3800 megawatt. It will have a positive impact on the lives of tens of millions of people, he added.
Punjab Forum called upon the politicians no to play to the tune of India and stop opposing KBD, the most studied site in last three decades, so that national consensus can be built to guarantee prosperity.