Wither the nation that won’t build dams but suffers due to droughts at one time and floods at the other. There is no denying that the unprecedented high monsoon rains caused devastating floods this year, but we do face problems during monsoons every year. Global warming and climate changes are likely to make things worst in the future. One solution to reducing the impact of floods is to build dams.
It can’t fully eliminate the possibility of floods, but it for sure can help reduce the damage and help store excess water for irrigation during the months of need. The Kalabagh dam project, which never saw the light of the day would have helped immensely in controlling water, generating electricity, and improving our irrigation system. The proposed project faced fierce political backlash based on false assumptions. We did have strong proponents of the project such as Mr Shamsul Mulk, ex-chairperson of WAPDA and chief minister of KPK under the Musharraf govt.
He tried his best to further the cause of building this dam. He formed a team of experts to address the concern of politicians of KPK who claimed that Nowshera will drown. Consequently, the proposed design was changed but the self-centred politicians from KPK and Sindh kept using false pretexts to oppose the project for their petty gains. Billions have been spent on this dead project in the form of a colony being built and some machinery purchased, but our politicians could never build consensus on this project. Even the dictators, who seldom need permission or worry about political fallout did not push this project. This is exactly the kind of project that requires the political parties and other forces to rise above their prejudices and personal interests and agree to start it as soon as possible.
I wish, hope, and pray that our ruling elite realize that unless we act fast, we will either be ruined by droughts or extreme flooding.