Mangla Dam – A Harbinger of Peace and Prosperity

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With the rapid influx of the ‘new arrivals’ on the dazzling Earth planet, a new perception – based on the real facts – is surfacing that the ‘ future wars between the nations will be fought for water instead of pieces of lands of each other’. Prima facie this concept seems to be a harbinger with a clear-cut mindset for today’s world that it should – right now – start concentrating on mobilizing water resources rather than blind collection of weapons. In the words of noted theorist Mike Murdock ‘ Truth is the most powerful force on earth because it cannot be changed’. Going into micro interpretation of this vision, each one would come to the conclusion that ‘whereas water is the name of survival with dignity, the arms are the perilous course of the human devastation.’

The foremost need for every nation around the globe, which needs attention with optimal zest in the ‘global village’ thus is to amplify and accelerate steps for enhancing water resources – the only pre-requisite for the survival of the mankind as the peace and prosperity can achieved only and only via this approach , if adopted by the pragmatists. Its hard fact that whosoever came to this world has to make a petite sacrifice to achieve a cherished goal to the multilateral benefit of the co-existents. Its again a reality – persevered by historians – that ever since the birth of this planet, multiple socities emerged and vanished in the arena, spread over years in times beyond once imagination. Realizing this truthful perception, a grand step has been initiated – the raising of the Mangla Dam, which has no doubt played a pivotal role in making our sanctified soils with a ‘lush – green land’.

The Chairman National Kashmir Committee, Sardar Abdul Qayyum has appositely has said that initiation of a step for uplifting of this dam has made in larger national interest. Correct that “this is a historic decision and raising of Mangla Dam would equally benefit the people of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir.”

His words that “raising of Mangla Dam was imperative as due to silting, water storage capacity in the Dam was decreasing day by day,” are visibly based on nothing except the whole truth. His perception that construction of more dams would have healthy impacts on Pakistani and Kashmiri people, ought to be acknowledged without any reservations.

If one views with a realistic analysis, the newly-launched Rs. 59 billion gigantic Mangla Dam Raising Project will usher in the new era of speedy progress and prosperity through bringing about green revolution in the country.

Since the project will augment supply of irrigation water in various parts of the country particularly in Punjab and Sindh provinces at a time when country is in its dire need.

There will be additional power generation and further flood alleviation as a result of raising by 30 feet of the dam from the existing 1210 feet level.

The conservation level of the dam will be raised by 40 feet from existing 1202 feet conservation level. On the average, annual water availability for irrigation releases for various parts of the country including both Sindh and Punjab would increase by 2.9 million Muqaab acre feet (MAF).

The quantity of water shall immensely increase which will enhance the agriculture productions in Punjab and Sindh to greater extent. Resultantly more large scale area shall come under irrigation opening new avenues of employment of the rural population of both the provinces.

In addition to that due to additional storage of water in Mangla Dam reservoir and availability of constant head the generation of inexpensive Hydel electricity shall increase which will reduce the additional burden of expensive thermal energy from IPPs (Independent Power Project).

Punjab and Sindh provinces will also enjoy the maximum availability of water through canals and subordinate water channels to irrigate more large scale areas.

Azad Jammu Kashmir will equally be highly benefitting from the Dam raising project as the downstream areas on thousands acres of lands in Mirpur and Bhimbher districts shall be brought under irrigation after having water from the dam in the light of the commitment by the government.

Water from the dam could also be utilized for drinking purposes in Mirpur and the adjoining hamlets on the periphery of the Mangla lake through execution of the greater water supply schemes in Mirpur and the adjoining areas.

The average annual energy output is estimated increase by 772 GWH which is equivalent to an increase of about 150 megawatts in output of the existing 1000-MW power plant.

The raising project will also generate construction activity and employment opportunities at large scale. The dam has already contributed significantly towards improvement of the environment in terms of agriculture growth, job opportunities and improved standard of living. Availability of additional water and hydro power will further enhance these positive impacts.

Since the completion in 1967, the gross storage capacity of Mangla reservoir has reduced by about 20 percent due to sediments deposition. Compensating for the capacity lost to sedimentation has in mind and a provision for raising of the dam was kept in the original design and construction of the dam.

Raising of the dam has now gained importance on account of the growing shortage of irrigation due to sedimentation of the country’s two major storage reservoirs at Terbela and Mangla. Raising of the Mangla Dam will help into regain the reservoir capacity lost to sediment deposition and make provision for future sedimentation. Main features of the project include four earth dams with a maximum height of 454 ft. (154 meters) and total length of about 13 kilometers. For flood routing, two spillways are provided.

Hydro power is generated through ten units of 100 megawatts each. Water to the power generating units is supplied through five tunnels. Irrigation releases are usually made through the tunnels, occasionally supplemented by release through the main spillway.

When completed in 1967, Mangla reservoir, had a gross storage capacity of 5.878 million Maqaab Feet (MAF), which by now has reduced to 4.68 MAF. The capacity will reduce further to 4.5 MAF by the time the dam raising project is completed in June 2007.

After the launching of the long-awaiting decision for taking up the boundaries of the dam, people expect an expeditious implementation on the construction of other dam elsewhere in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir as well to make the sacred homeland a prosperous, glorious and lush green lands all around – free from dependency on the aliens. With this not only that Pakistan can be made free from imports of stuff for the humanity but also emerge as an exporter of multiple items of daily use – a hallmark of a de facto sovereign state. Keeping in view the future needs of the basics for the quick survival of the mankind, let every one know the words of the eminent philosopher Marcel Proust wherein he says “The real act of discovery is not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”

The author is a noted journalist, political analyst and ex-Director News Pakistan TV.

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