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Economic survival lies in hydropower generation: Ijaz A. Mumtaz

Lahore, April 14, 2015 (PPI-OT): The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that economic growth lies in the generation of hydro power generation which is a cheap source of electricity. The government would have to create consensus for the early construction of water reservoirs.

In a statement issued here, Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that power generation through thermal means would not be doing any service to the trade, industry and economy even if we start producing 50,000 MW electricity through furnace oil as it would not be affordable for the businessmen and they would left with no other option but to close down their industrial units.

The LCCI President said that Kalabagh dam is the most suitable project the national economy as it would not only produce cheap and sufficient electricity but would also avert the human tragedies like Tharparkar.

He said that Kalabagh dam is a must to control the poverty and hunger and those who were opposing the KBD were enemies of this country as they were playing with the country‘s future.

Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that approximately Rs 132 billion could be saved annually with the construction of Kalabagh Dam.

The LCCI President said that the government should constitute a team of experts belonging to public and private sectors to convince all the provinces that Kalabagh Dam is necessary for the progress and prosperity of the country. He said that the experts had already proved that there is no threat to Nowshera city as it is 150 feet above the water level.

The LCCI President said that Kalabagh Dam, was not only beneficial to Punjab alone but it would be more helpful in erasing poverty from Khyber Pakhtun Khawa as would irrigate 800000 acres of cultivable land that is located 100-150 feet above the Indus river level in the province. He said this land could only be brought under cultivation if the river level is raised that is only possible if Kalabagh Dam is built.

Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that Kalabagh Dam issue has been so much politicized that a consensus would not be possible. The political leadership, he added, is manipulating the issue for their advantage. He said civil society would have to play a crucial role in creating a larger consensus as new large water reservoirs would benefit every Pakistani.

He said that a further delay in gathering a consensus from all stakeholders on the construction of unduly politicized Kalabagh Dam will cost this country and its coming generations very dearly.

The LCCI President said that all the stakeholders should show some greater maturity on the issue of Kalabagh. It is the high time that all undue stands should be brushed aside to save the country from that era of darkness. He said that unlike Pakistan, India is constructing dams at every possible site. It has left us decades behind and coming time does not promise any good thing either.

Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that everyone knows that the existing dams are constantly silting up leaving ever decreasing capacity to store water. The construction of Kalabagh dam along with other new dams is desperately needed to store adequate water. According to a conservative estimate about 30 million acre feet of water is being wasted into the sea because the country has no big water reservoirs to store it.

“More importantly, as a result of melting of glaciers due to global warming, a sword of Damocles remains hanging over our heads in the shape of floods. An opinion gained widespread support across the country that the losses of recent floods in Pakistan which are estimated to be more than 45 billion dollars could have been reduced if big dams and water reservoirs were in place”, he added.

The LCCI president said that another significant aspect connected with the construction of Kalabagh Dam is the surety of sufficient amount of electricity at comparatively much cheaper price. The country’s dependence on power generated through thermal sources is costing us way too much causing to face insurmountable challenges to remain competitive both in national and international markets.

Another significant aspect connected with the construction of Kalabagh Dam is the surety of sufficient amount of greener and cheaper electricity. Electricity generation through thermal sources is estimated to cost almost Rs.16 per unit whereas the same can be produced at Rs.2.5 to Rs.3 through Hydel.

He said that the present scenario leads to import oil worth over US$ 12 billion a year which is costing us dearly while causing to face insurmountable challenges to remain competitive both in national and international markets.

For more information, contact:
Shahid Khalil
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
11-Shahrah-e-Aiwan-e-Tijarat,
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +92-42-111-222-499
Fax: +92-42-6368854

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