THE KALABAGH DAM IS A MEGA WATER RESERVOIR THAT GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN PLANNING TO DEVELOP ACROSS THE INDUS RIVER, ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST RIVERS. THE PROPOSED SITE FOR THE DAM IS SITUATED AT KALABAGH

THE DAM PROJECT IS A HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL AND HAS BEEN SO SINCE ITS INCEPTION. IN DECEMBER 2005, GENERAL PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, WHO BECAME THE PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN AFTER A 1999 COUP, ANNOUNCED THAT HE WOULD DEFINITELY BUILD THE DAM IN THE LARGER INTEREST OF PAKISTAN.ACCORDING TO THE PC-II OF THE PROJECT, KALA BAGH DAM WAS INITIATED BY GOP IN 1953, AND UNTIL 1973, THE PROJECT WAS BASICALLY CONSIDERED AS A STORAGE PROJECT FOR MEETING THE IRRIGATION NEEDS, AND CONSEQUENTLY, RAPID INCREASES IN THE COST OF ENERGY HAVE GREATLY ENHANCED THE PRIORITY OF THE DAM AS A POWER PROJECT.THE PROJECT’S PAPERWORK WAS FINALIZED IN MARCH, 1984, WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME; SUPERVISED BY THE WORLD BANK, FOR THE CLIENT WATER AND POWER DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (WAPDA) OF PAKISTAN

CONTROVERSY: THE PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF THE KALABAGH DAM TRIGGERED AN EXTREMELY BITTER CONTROVERSY AMONG THE FOUR PROVINCES OF PAKISTAN, NAMELY PUNJAB, SINDH, NORTH-WEST FRONTIER PROVINCE, AND BALOCHISTAN. THE ONLY PROVINCE WHICH IS IN FAVOR OF THIS DAM, IS PUNJAB THAT IS THE MOST STRONG AMONG ALL FOUR PROVINCES, AS USUALLY THE GOVERNMENT IS MAINLY CENTRALIZED IN IT. THE OTHER THREE PROVINCES HAVE EXPRESSED EXTREME DISSATISFACTION, GOING SO FAR AS TO HAVE THEIR PROVINCIAL ASSEMBLIES PASS UNANIMOUS RESOLUTIONS CONDEMNING THE PROPOSED DAM. HENCE, THE PROJECT IS STILL UNDER CONSIDERATION.THE DELAY IS ALSO BEING CAUSED BY THE FACT THAT ACCORDING TO INTERNATIONAL WATER DISTRIBUTION LAW, THE TAILENDER HAS A LEGAL AND NATURAL RIGHT ON RIVER AND THAT IS WHY NO MEGA CONSTRUCTION OR RESERVOIR CAN BE BUILT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND ENDORSEMENT OF THE TAILENDER I.E. SINDH. IN THE CASE WHERE THE TAILENDER IS NOT USING WATER I.E. BUILDING A WATER RESERVOIR, A RESERVOIR CAN BE MADE UPSTREAM.

IMPACT ASSESSMENTS OF THE PROPOSED DAM HAVE SHOWN THAT WHILE IT WILL PROVIDE STORAGE AND ELECTRICITY, THE DAM WILL ALSO HAVE ADVERSE IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT, AS CAN BE EXPECTED FROM ANY LARGE DAM. IT WILL ALSO DISPLACE A LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE. WHILE PROPONENTS POINT TO THE BENEFITS, THE ADVERSE FACTORS HAVE BEEN PLAYED UP BY THE OPPONENTS OF THE DAM. AS A RESULT, THE DAM HAS BEEN STALLED BY CLAIMS AND COUNTERCLAIMS SINCE 1984.

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