Friday, 27 January 2017

Kalabagh Dam-The Facts, Tariq Mushtaq

Kalabagh Dam-The Facts, Tariq Mushtaq
Allah has blessed Pakistan with numerous resources, water is one of those gifts. To understand its importance it is necessary to have knowledge on the following:
  1. What number of dams and reservoirs are designed on all the rivers and how much work has been done on them.
  2. What is the real picture and what are the facts about Kalabagh Dam. Why it is important, necessary and essential for our country.
  3. What are the objections raised by some political parties against Kalabagh Dam, and what is the factual position?
At the time of independence, our newly formed country had no infrastructure of power generation. There were only small diesel or coal powered generation plants in various cities, but to meet the major requirement we were dependent on India. In 1958 when Field Marshall Ayub Khan took over the government, with all the other important steps, shortage of power was also taken as a very important issue and work on war footing was started.
As already stated we are blessed with many natural resources, especially water. We have five rivers and number of subsidiaries which can give us sufficient power as well as huge water reservoirs for irrigation, if properly planned. Ayub Khan’s Government gave full attention towards this side and started immediate survey for suitable sites for the construction of hydropower projects, water reservoirs/dams, headworks and barrages as soon as he took over the government in 1958. Within a short period of six months a complete study was formed stating the number of places and sites where dams on river Indus and river Jhelum could be constructed as well as sites and places where barrages can be constructed on rivers Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej.
First of all, we will go through the study on river Indus. According to the study, only on river Indus we could construct hydropower projects, water reservoirs/dams and barrages at fifteen (15) different sites. The study also revealed that there were certain sites which were more important and where the development work could be started with immediate effect. Following this study, two sites on river Indus were selected for dams where we could avail power generation facility as well as water reservoirs which would be linked to canals for irrigation purpose. One site was Kalabagh, which was a natural dam and the other was Tarbela. On river Jehlum, Mangla was selected for immediate implementation. The other reason to select these sites was that these were almost in the centre of the country from where the cost of electricity distribution network would cost less and the controls would be easy, secondly, from water reservoirs, water would easily be connected to the canal system used for irrigation. In 1959, immediate work was started at Mangla Dam site.
On the other side Tarbela was preferred over Kalabagh. There were two reasons; one , the cost of Tarbela Dam was higher than the Kalabagh Dam, and financial help from the World Bank was required, whereas cost of Kalabagh was less and could easily be meet with by our own resources. Second reason was political disturbance created by Raja George SikandarZaman who was in opposition of Ayub Khan and had a high influence in Haripur area where some land were to be acquired by the government. It was decided that as Ayub Khan being in power, the people of the area will cooperate, but later on when Ayub Khan may not be in power, this man having high influence in the area may be a hindrance in the construction of this dam, as well as Khanpur Dam (only a reservoir dam), which was also constructed during that time.
So, work on Tarbela and Mangla Dam was immediately started. Mangla was to generate 1100 megawatts with a water reservoir of 5.5 million acre feet and Tarbela was planned to produce 3490 megawatts electricity with a water reservoir of 11.09 million acre feet.
Dear readers, before going into further details, it is important to understand the flow of rivers and the places they fall into each other. Starting with river Swat which flows from Kalam to Nowshera for 12 months with an enormous quantity of water. At Nowshera it falls into river Kabul which is coming from Afghanistan, crossing through Peshawar. From Nowshera these two rivers jointly fall into river Indus at Attock. From Attock bridge, the flow of these two rivers can easily been seen, Indus in blue colour and the other two in mud colour. They go a long way side by side then ultimately merge into each other.
From Attock to Kalabagh, there is no place where this enormous quantity of water flowing from three rivers can be stored. Kalabagh is the only place where this water can be stored.
From Kalabagh reservoir, water can not only be used for generation of electricity but can also be utilised to irrigate the barren areas of KPK, Sindh and Balochistan. The site of Kalabagh is a natural dam, which can be constructed in much less time with less cost than a regular dam. It can store and preserve all that water flowing from rivers Indus, Swat and Kabul, which at present is going waste and falls into the Arabian Sea. It’s a sheer negligence of our governments and leaders that since long we are wasting this gift of the Nature which can be very useful for irrigation and can also generate electricity for the national grid. Practically, it’s “kufran e namet”.
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 KPK chief minister and former Chairman WAPDA Shamsul Mulk has stated, "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.
Experts who supported the construction of the Kalabagh Dam at the 2012 "Save Water Save Pakistan" forum included Dr Salman Shah, former finance minister Abdul Majeed Khan, TECH Society President ShafqatMasood, 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, Tariq Mushtaq, former KDB project head, 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.
Length of Kalabagh dam reservoir will be 80 km. From there the Nowshera city is 110 km far, and if the dam is full to its ends, the height of Nowshera will be 60 feet above that level. So, the story which has been framed by a political party of KPK, that Nowshera will be submerged in water and that too in the case of destruction of the dam , does not hold any truth and reality in it, rather 800,000 acres barren land will be irrigated with the raise in the level of the river. This area is 100-150 feet above river level, when the level of the river is raised, it would be easily irrigated.
Around 1,000,000 acres of land in Sind will be irrigated from the water reservoir of Kalabagh-Dam. The politicians and feudals of Sind also have framed a story for their poor and uneducated people that if Kalabagh Dam is constructed, river Indus will have no water in flow and sea water will enter inside the river bed, damaging the lands. This is just a story to confuse the poor farmers and small land owners, so that they don’t get benefit of water for their fields, which can result them a better living and educating their children. Actually the feudals have a fear that if these people get education and better living, feudals won’t be able to keep them under their thumb, so this sort of stories are spreaded.
In fact, Karachi and Sindh is seven meters above sea level, so there is no question of sea water flowing back into the river. Only at “delta” the sea water flows in at the time of “Mud-O-Jazr”. Secondly, the bed of the river will not get dry, once the dam is filled, water flow will be in routine and will remain as it is flowing now. Same way, huge area of Balochistan will also get water for irrigation through this dam’s reservoir.
Indian Government is spending a huge amount against the Kalabagh Dam. India doesn’t want that Pakistan ever builds this dam and saves that water which at present is totally wasted and which would very badly be required in the coming days. It is very unfortunate that many politicians and feudals are on the Indian pay list just to oppose this dam.
Please note; in addition to irrigation, Kalabagh Dam would also generate 3600 megawatt electricity, which when added in the national grid will bring down the electricity cost. Delay in the construction of this dam is criminal on part of the rulers, politicians and leaders, because it is their utmost duty to look after the National Interest. People had no hope from Asif Ali Zardari or his party, but Zia ul Haq and Pervaiz Musharaf could very easy construct it, but they also became more political than the Rulers. They also lost their national interest only for their lust of power and to remain in seat for a longer time.
Dear readers, Let me explain that from Gilgit to Kalabagh, how many dams can be constructed on river Indus, which have been designed by Wapda and requires immediate attention as well as authoritarian step of the head of the state.
The proposed Project is located on Indus River 83 km from Gilgit. It is planned run of the river hydropower Project. This will generate of 7100 Mega Watt, in two stages. First stage will start generation of 2800 megawatts and in second phase total 7100 megawatt will start generation.
The proposed scheme is along 1 km lower stretch of Basho Lungma, a left tributary of Indus River. The confluence of Basho Lungma with Indus River is located about 40 km downstream of north-west of Skardu town and 704 km north-east of Islamabad. This Hydropower Project can generate 40 MW. Its cost is estimated at Rs.91.243 million.
The proposed project is located on Indus River, about 315 km upstream of Tarbela Dam, 180 km downstream of the Gilgit-Baltistan capital Gilgit city and 40 km downstream of Chilas city. The proposed RCC dam would have a maximum height of 272 m, and impound a reservoir of about 8.1 million acre feet (MAF), with live storage of 6.4 MAF. Mean annual discharge of Indus River at the site is 1977 cusecs. The dam will impound 15% of the annual river flow. The project would cover an area of 110 square kilometres and the reservoir would extend 100 km upstream of the dam site upto Raikot Bridge on Sharah e Rashem. This hydro project can generate 4500 mega wall electricity.
The proposed Dasu Hydropower Project is a run of river project on the Indus River located 7 km upstream of Dasu Town, District Kohistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The site is 74 km downstream of proposed Diamer Basha Dam site and 345 km from Islamabad. Project will generate 5400 MW (15 Units @ 360 MW each) hydroelectric power. It will be completed in two Stages (Stage-I&II). Stage-I will generate 2160 MW (06 Units @ 36 MW each) with annual energy of 12,222 GWh. Stage-I will be completed in five years. The project is being financed by the World Bank.
The proposed Spat Gah is the left bank tributaries of Indus River in Kohistan District, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. The confluence of Spat Gah is located 8 km downstream of Dasu town, 35 km up stream of Patan town. The Project is located 365 km from Islamabad and has the capacity to generate 496 MW hydropower.
The proposed Patan Dam site is located on the Indus River about 4 km upstream of village Patan downstream of Keyal Khwar. The power house is planned on the left bank 4 km downstream of Besham Qila and 305 km from Islamabad. This project will generate 2300 MW electricity. Cost of this project is estimated at Rs. 731.233 million (2013).
This proposed hydro project is located in a narrow section of Indus river, about 3 km downstream of Besham. Distance from Islamabad is about 240 Km. It is designed to generate 4,000 MW hydropower electricity. It cost is estimated at Rs. 719.628 Million (2013).
8-TARBELA DAM The project is located at a narrow spot in the Indus River valley, at Tarbela in Haripur, shortly located at the point from where the District Swabi then starts. Here the river formerly split around a large island close to the left bank. The main dam wall, built of earth and rock is the world’s largest earth-filled dam, stretches 2,743 metres (8,999 ft) from the island to river right, standing 148 metres (486 ft) high. A pair of concrete auxiliary dams spans the river from the island to river left. The spillways, located on the auxiliary dams, in turn consist of two parts. The main spillway has a discharge capacity of 18,406 cubic metres per second (650,000 cu ft/s) and the auxiliary spillway, 24,070 cubic metres per second (850,000 cu ft/s).
Hydroelectric power plant on the right side of the main dam houses 14 generators fed with water from outlet tunnels 1, 2, and 3. There are four 175 MW generators on tunnel 1, six 175 MW generators on tunnel 2, and four 432 MW generators on tunnel 3, for a total generating capacity of 3,478 MW. Tarbela Reservoir is 80.5 kilometres (50.0 mi) long, with a surface area of 250 square kilometres (97 sq mi). The reservoir holds 11,600,000 acre feet (14.3 km3) of water, with a live storage of 9,700,000 acre feet (12.0 km3).
It is very important to note an astonishing fact: Tenders of Tarbela Dam were opened in December 1966. The lowest tender was of 259 crore dollars while the others were of 296 crore dollars, 366 crore dollars and 384 crore dollars. Ayub Khan’s government selected the lowest bid, but the World Bank was not agreed to finance that company which basically was from Italy and had collaboration with a German firm. Ayub Khan and the concerned ministers had a meeting in this regard. Ayub Khan asked his finance minster Muhammad Shoaib and a civil servant Ghulam Farooq Khan to confirm two things, one, what is the international standing of the company and secondly, can the Government meet the foreign component from its own resources. The answer came within 48 hours that the company had a good standing in the international market and that the Government of Pakistan can meet the foreign component from its own resources. So, the world Bank was informed that we don’t need their financial help. It was a great achievement, later on the World Bank also joined and provided the financial help, but we started this dam with our own resources.
This, I am talking about those persons who were sincere to the nation and did not know the word “commission”, they used to spend the national exchequer as a CUSTODIAN of the nation, they used to take national exchequer as “amanat” of the people of the country. After Ayub Khan’s regime, especially after 1977, it’s very sad that our Governments right from Zia regime to the present regime, purchased everything by raising the cost by double , triple and sometimes four times. Zardari regime is very notorious in this regard.
Another commendable vision of the then rulers and an admirable fact about Tarbela Dam is that it has five tunnels. Right now generation system is attached only on three tunnels, which generate 3490 megawatts. In 2013, Nawaz Government started installation of turbines and generators on tunnel Number four, which on completion will generate 1450 megawatt electricity, which when added in the national grid, will reduce the cost of electricity which has been terrifically raised because of thermal generation.
Ghazi-Bharota Hydropower Project is a run of the river project. Water from the river Indus enters into a canal from Ghazi and falls backs in river Indus at Bharota after going through the generation of 1450 megawatt electricity. This project was designed by the Wapda engineers without any foreign consultancy.
The Kalabagh Dam is a proposed hydroelectric dam on the Indus River at Kalabagh in the Mianwali District of Punjab Province in Pakistan. The dam would have 3,600 megawatts of electricity generation capacity.
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 of electricity it would provide.
Some people say that Basha Dam is a substitute of Kalabagh Dam. It is very important to note 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.
Dear readers, from the above you can easily determine and understand that we can generate 33,350 megawatt electricity only from river Indus, double than our present requirement, which means very cheap electricity and an industrial revolution. More over we can run railway on electricity, which will save a lot of foreign exchange which is spent on the purchase of diesel for railway engines. During Ayub Khan’s regime, an electric train was started between Lahore and Khanewal, which after 1977 stopped working and at present number of its installations have been stolen or disposed of, very sorry, it’s a national loss, , it’s a state of sorrow, what else I can say.
In 17th and 18th Centuries, countries had wars over control of water and rivers, then in 19th Century wars were over territorial controls. In coming days, once again, wars will be over control of water. Allah has gifted us with plenty of water which can beover and above of our needs, if we are able to control it and can make use of it in a proper way.
Dear Readers,
Kalabagh Dam is essential and indispensable for our country, for our development, for our irrigation system and for the future of our country.
It’s the foremost duty of our rulers, leaders, politicians, technocrats, bureaucrats, philosophers, journalists and also the general public to work on it and to tell India that despite their intense interference, they can’t stop us from our development. It is the duty of our politicians and feudals to tell them that they are not purchasable. If we are able to construct Kalabagh Dam, it will be our great achievement and a grand victory over India.
In my next script, I will explain about the Mangla Dam, Neelum-Jhelum hydro project and all other sites where we can construct hydel power generation plants on river Jhelum. I will also bring to the knowledge of the readers about all the barrages and headworks on river Indus, river Jhelum, river Chenab, river Ravi and river Satluj with the linked canal system, which is really appreciable, exemplary and speaks about the vision of our previous rulers specially Field Marshal Ayub Khan and his team, whom we always call a dictator. And those who are unable to give anything to the nation are taken as big followers of Democracy.
Democracy, which has given nothing to the nation as yet. Let’s pray this democracy and people who are always talking about it are able to act positively and give this nation at lease the required water and electricity instead of hollow slogan.

The writer is a technocrat and International Affairs Analyst

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