|Official name||کالا باغ ڈيم|
|Location||Kalabagh, Mianwali District|
|Dam and spillways|
|Type of dam||Earthfill dam (zoned fill embankment with clay core)|
|Height||79 m (259 ft)|
|Length||3,350 m (10,991 ft)|
|Active capacity||7.52 km3 (6,100,000 acre⋅ft)|
|Inactive capacity||9.7 km3 (7,900,000 acre⋅ft)|
|Catchment area||110,500 sq mi (286,000 km2)|
|Hydraulic head||170 ft (52 m)|
|Turbines||12 x 300 MW|
|Installed capacity||3,600 MW (max. planned)|
|Annual generation||11,400 GWh|
The Kalabagh Dam (Urdu: کالا باغ ڈيم), is a proposed hydroelectric dam on the Indus River at Kalabagh in the Mianwali District, Punjab, Pakistan. Intensely debated, if constructed the dam would have 3,600 megawatts (4,800,000 hp) of electricity generation capacity; however the greater benefits would be to tackle the "severe water crises" in the country Pakistan Economy Watch has demanded a national debate on the KBD issue.
After the construction of Tarbela Dam, Kalabagh became the highest priority dam project. In 1979, the government obtained a grant of $25 million from the UNDP for its preparation, detailed design and feasibility. Pakistan first approached the Soviet Union for financing assistance, but due to strained relations with Afghanistan (a Soviet ally), this request was denied. The government then approached the World Bank, which agreed to finance the project. At this point in Pakistan's history, previous dam projects such as Mangla (under Ayub Khan) and Tarbela (under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) never faced any opposition. Even Kalabagh was approved by the Central Development Working Party, without dissent.
The issue of Kalabagh started to become politicized after the execution of the former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a highly popular leader from the downstream province of Sindh. Adding to the controversy, was the feud between Zia-ul-Haq and his own NWFP governor Fazle Haq, which eventually dragged in the Awami National Party into the opposing camp. Due to certain violations of the Indus Accord by the Punjab province, reservations in Sindh grew against the project, whose population and political leaders now painted it as a conspiracy.
Despite the political roadblocks, the World Bank and foreign consultants continued their work on Kalabagh, over a period of ten years, up to 1986 when the project was finally put on hold. The suspicions of the Sindhis grew after Benazir Bhutto's government was dismissed in favor of Nawaz Sharif (from Punjab.) There is debate on whether Benazir favored the Kalabagh project. Pir Pagar has claimed the dam was originally conceived by her father, and that Benazir had allocated funds for it. Others like Sharjeel Memon have claimed Benazir was against its construction.
In December 2004, Pervez Musharraf announced that he would re-initiate the Kalabagh project to serve the larger interest of Pakistan. However, on 26 May 2008, the Federal Minister for Water and Power of Pakistan, Raja Pervez Ashraf, said that the "Kalabagh Dam would not be constructed" and that the project had been cancelled due to "opposition from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and other stakeholders, the project was no longer feasible". In 2010 after the worst floods in Pakistani history, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gilani, stated flood damage would be minimised if the Kalabagh Dam were built.
Arguments Supporting Construction
A study funded by NUST University in 2014, concluded that building Kalabagh would offer the following benefits: (1) Annual savings of $4 billion in energy costs (2) Saving Rs. 132 billion due to irrigation benefits and (3) Prevent flood-loss damage, such as the $45 billion loss suffered in recent floods at the time the study was published. The study estimated that the overall benefits of Kalabagh would provide Rs. 20 billion every year, and thus the cost of construction would be repaid within 8–9 years. Moreover, according to the study, the negative consequences of not building Kalabagh are as follows: (1) Economic destabilization due to food shortage, (2) "Serious drop" in agricultural production, (3) Rise in inter-provincial disputes over water, (4) Additional cost of importing energy, (5) Prohibitive cost of electricity for the average consumer and (6) Effects on industry and agriculture due to rising electricity costs.
Bashir A. Malik, former chief technical advisor to the United Nations and World Bank, said, "Sindh and Pakhtunkhwah would become drought areas in the years to come if Kalabagh Dam was not built." At the same time, former KP Chief Minister Shamsul Mulk has stated that the "Kalabagh Dam would be helpful in erasing poverty from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, as it would irrigate 800,000 acres of cultivable land that is located 100–150 feet above the level of River Indus." The Kalabagh Dam would provide 6.5 million acre feet of water to cultivate seven million acres of currently barren land in addition to the 3,600 megawatts (4,800,000 hp) of electricity it would provide. In response to the push towards side-lining Kalabagh altogether in favour of the rival Basha Dam project, Engineer Anwer Khurshid stated that "Basha Dam is no substitute for Kalabagh Dam, not because of its altitude, which is high enough, but because no irrigation canals can be taken out from it because of the hilly terrain."
Experts who supported the construction of the Kalabagh Dam at the 2012 "Save Water Save Pakistan" Forum included: Dr Salman Shah, former Finance Minister of Pakistan; Abdul Majeed Khan, TECH Society president; Shafqat Masood, former IRSA chairman; Qayyum Nizami, former Minister of State; Prof Abdul Qayyum Qureshi, former Vice-Chancellor of Islamia University, Bahawalpur; Dr Muhammad Sadiq, agricultural scientist; M Saeed Khan, former GM of Kalabagh Dam Project; Engr. Mahmudur Rehman Chughtai, Mansoor Ahmed, former MD of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Foundation, M. Zubair Sheikh and Jameel Gishkori, among others. The participants of Save Water Save Pakistan demanded the construction of five dams, including the Munda Dam, Kurram Tangi Dam, Akhori Dam and the Kalabagh Dam, at by 2025 at the latest to store water and generate electricity to meet demand.
Initially when the project was being conceived, engineering studies conducted by an independent Panel of Experts were also constituted by the World Bank, to progressively review the consultants work and to advise them. Members of this panel were eminent world experts and were drawn from different countries. Additional specialists were invited for giving their views on selected topics, where needed. An independent review panel was also constituted by the Government of Pakistan, consisting of eminent Pakistani engineers to review the Project Planning Report. Among them were Engr. Manzoor Ahmed Sheikh, Engr. Asghar Ali Abidi and Engr. Shah Nawaz Khan. This panel also agreed with the conclusions of the Report and supported its recommendations.
Opposition to Kalabagh
Kalabagh dam is opposed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa based political parties such as ANP and JUI(F). and Sindh. The government from time to time tries to form a consensus on the issue. The former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah showed objection to the site of Kalabagh Dam and said its a threat to small provinces. The former Chief Minister of KPK Pervez Khattak said that the KBD is against the interests of KP. Awami National Party has opposed the construction and site of KBD. Sustainable Development Policy Institute, an NGO, published a case study on Kalabagh dam in 1999, mainly arguing against the environmental and displacement impact of building large dams. Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) former chief Altaf Hussain conditionally supported the Kalabagh dam and said that government should address the reservations of Sindhis before its construction
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