Aug 12, 2010

Sindh: Leaders And Technocrats Say No New Dam Acceptable

Politicians and technocrats of Sindh reject the assertion that the Kalabagh Dam could have averted the destruction caused by recent floods.


Below is an article published by the Daily Times:


Politicians and technocrats of Sindh have rejected the assertion that the Kalabagh Dam could have averted the destruction caused by the recent floods across the country.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had said on Monday, 9 August 2010, that the deaths and destruction caused by the recent floods could have been avoided if the Kalabagh Dam had been built, and the government would build the dam if there were a political consensus over the issue.

“If the Kalabagh Dam had been built, the whole Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would have been destroyed,” Pakistan People’s Party member and Sindh Culture Minister Sassi Palejo said on Tuesday. She said no new dam or canal was acceptable to Sindh and the flood situation could only be handled through an improved irrigation system.

Rejecting the assertion, Sindh Abadgar Board President Abdul Majeed Nizamani said that supposedly around 30 million acre feet (MAF) of water reached downstream Kotri during the current floods. “The Kalabagh Dam would have stored only six MAF of water, meaning some 24 MAF water would still have reached Kotri even if the dam was there,” he added.

Nizamani said the Kalabagh Dam was not feasible on technical grounds as well, because the country had witnessed a high-flood after the gap of around 14 years.

According to records since 1923, we have experienced such years after every five-year period “when we have even been unable to fill our existing dams even”, he said. “Why should we spend a huge amount of Rs 20 billion on a project which will rarely benefit the country,” he asked. 

Nizamani said the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have also stated that the destruction caused by current floods would have been 10 times more had the Kalabagh Dam been built. He said floodwater would have flown back in case the dam had been constructed.

“If we accept Punjab’s claim that it would not have flown back, then why has Punjab planned to build walls up to Kabul River to save Nowshera,” he added.

Nizamani said those who support the Kalabagh Dam should keep in mind that the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) had rejected the dam in 1996 on technical grounds, and the Water and Power Development Authority has not challenged IRSA’s decision despite the passage of 14 years. 

“It is a conventional dam, whereas, we need carryover dams in the country that would also be beneficial for the lower riparian,” he asserted.

Sindh Assembly Opposition Leader Jam Madad Ali said talking of Kalabagh Dam would create rifts among the provinces. razzak abro