ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday said Pakistan should reduce its dependence on India and Afghanistan for water by constructing dams and water reservoirs.
“Reducing dependence on enemy nations is essential for national security as water is being used as an effective weapon against Pakistan,” it said.
Dams will not only ensure water security but also reduce dependence on fossil fuels, balancing the energy mix which is heavily tilted towards oil, said PEW President Dr Murtaza Mughal.
The cost of Diamer-Basha dam was estimated to be Rs1,450 billion in 2008 while the allocation for the dam for the year 2018-19 stands at Rs23.50 billion, which is odd, he added.
Dr Murtaza Mughal said that the cost for construction of the dam has jumped by billions due to delays and exchange rate erosion. Rs101 billion is required for purchasing land and resettlement of people while the reservoir will need an investment of Rs650 billion.
“In this scenario allocating a meager sum for the dam speaks of neglect by policymakers,” he said.
Dr Mughal said that the citizens are contributing for the construction of two dams which is laudable but the cost cannot be covered through charity. It requires resources which can only be met through loans worth billions of dollars.
He said that dams will also reduce dependence on furnace oil, saving billions of dollars in energy imports. It will reduce the cost of power generation which will boost economic activity, create jobs, and boost exports.