Question Solved by Saba Islam
CSS Solved Pakistan Affairs Past Paper 2019 | Critically analyze the key causes of delaying in the construction of dams in Pakistan. Give some suggestions to revert this Collateral loss. (CSS-2019)
The examiner has divided this question into two parts. In the first part of the question, he has asked you to critically analyze the reasons behind the delay in the construction of dams in Pakistan. Secondly, he has demanded some recommendations to fathom this problem.
The answer is solved on the given pattern, which Sir Syed Kazim Ali teaches to his students, who consistently score the maximum because of their attempting the questions. The content is based on historical facts taught by Sir Rameez Ch.
Numerous political, social, environmental, and economic factors retard the building of water reservoirs in Pakistan. As a result, the energy crisis has jolted the socio-economic fragment of the country. However, pragmatic steps, such as attaining political consensus, eliminating financial and technical constraints, addressing social concerns, and communicating the provincial issues, can fix the issue.
2- Key Causes of Delaying in the Construction of Dams in Pakistan
- Lack of consensus among provinces
- Conflicts among central and federal administration
- Short-term planning of the government
- Lack of finance
- Under-estimation of budget and time
- International donors’ reluctance in investment
- Displacement of People
- Masses’ resistance
- Destruction of natural habitat
- Global Warming
- Water Salinity
- Frequent earthquakes
3- Way forward
- Trust-building among provinces
- Strengthening the economy
- Adopting long-sighted policies
- Addressing technical issues
4- Critical Analysis
Answer to the Question Starts Here
Dams play a crucial role in the development of a country. They provide water for domestic, industrial, and agricultural purposes. Pakistan, unfortunately, faces hindrances in the construction of water reservoirs due to diverse reasons. However, constructing new dams has become essential to fulfil the country’s energy demands and vital to ensure enough water storage as Pakistan is an agricultural state relying heavily on water. Historically, she has constructed only two major dams- Tarbela and Mangla dam- which are now insufficient to meet the country’s energy needs. Currently, multiple political, social, environmental, and economic hurdles have retarded the construction of water reservoirs, like the Kalabagh Dam and Diamer Bhasha Dam. Consequently, the water crisis, energy crisis, and poor economy have become the country’s fate. Nevertheless, pragmatic steps, such as attaining political consensus, eliminating financial and technical constraints, addressing social concerns, and communicating provincial issues, can fix the issue. Therefore, a collective effort of the federal and provincial administration is required to solve this daunting matter as soon as possible. This question comprehensively discusses the causes of delaying the construction of dams in Pakistan and some suggestions to overcome the problem.
Causes of delaying in the Construction of Dams in Pakistan
The main political reasons for delaying the construction of dams in Pakistan are trust deficit among the provinces, multi-party system in the country, and adoption of short-sighted policies by the government. As consequences, the provinces remain unable to build a consensus among themselves to construct new dams. Thus, they have become the bone of contention in the construction of the Kalabagh dam. Furthermore, here each province is dominated by a specific political party. Most of the time, the party having a majority in the federal government does not have its hold in all provinces. Hence, the central and the provincial administration do not agree to make new water reservoirs. Apart from these political reasons, the short-term planning of the governing body also impedes the dam construction on time. In this state, the general elections are held after every five years. So, the incumbent governments adopt a narrow perspective of development. It focuses on early harvest projects that could help it in winning the next election. As a result, the governments feel reluctant to invest in long-term projects of heavy investment, like constructing major water reservoirs. Therefore, it causes delays in the construction of dams in Pakistan.
Besides political causes, economic causes, such as lack of financial resources, also hamper the building of large reservoirs requiring billions of dollars in Pakistan. The huge import-export gap, circular debt, low revenue collection, inflation, and lack of foreign direct investment have made Pakistan’s economy poor. The pandemic- COVID-19, sadly, has further deteriorated the financial condition. Hence, she lacks the finance to spend on developmental projects making the construction of dams difficult. Besides it, their construction also needs years to complete. In Pakistan, the budget and time for their building are under-estimated. For instance, any project, which is judged to be completed in ten years, takes much more time than that. With time, its budget also increases. Thus, their construction on time becomes impossible. Also, the international donors, like World Bank, feel reluctant to invest in projects facing political and social conflicts. Previously, the country has constructed the dams with international funding. But, now, the dams under consideration in Pakistan, such as Kala-Bagh Dam and Diamer-Bhasha Dam, are facing political or land disputes. Therefore, financial constraints have hampered the formation of dams here.
Social and Environmental Causes
Apart from the cause mentioned above, the social and environmental cause has also been the main culprit behind the construction of new dams that, as a result, leave negative ecological and social impacts across the country. This concern has been raised by different quarters. The administration has to displace the people of that area to any other place; the process faces people’s resistance. They try to stop the building of dams through strikes. Moreover, the construction of reservoirs disturbs the plants and animals natural habitat because the installation of enormous water storage needs to clear a large area, like forests. Consequently, to some extent, dam construction contributes to global warming- currently a burning issue. Furthermore, it also causes water salinity that makes agriculture in nearby areas impossible. Additionally, construction on a large scale can also trigger earthquakes. As a result, the formation of dams faces delay. So, social and environmental issues are also delaying the construction of dams in the country.
To solve the issue that faces the country today, the adoption of certain measures is a must. First of all, building trust among provinces is essential to construct dams in the country. The Council of Common Interest, which represents all provinces, should effectively play its role to eliminate the gap and trust deficit among the federating units. The dominated political parties of the provinces should also adopt a positive approach for the national interest. Secondly, a strong economy is crucial to generate revenue for the building of water storage. Therefore, Pakistan should take pragmatic steps to make its economy vibrant. The import-export gap should be decreased to increase the tax revenue collection. Third, the successive governments should adopt far-sighted policies instead of early harvest endeavours. Construction of new dams should be made a priority. For this purpose, the government should also acquire political consensus. Last but not least, Pakistan should also work on technical grounds to address the time, budget, and land-related problems. In this way, the land of pure can protect herself from delay in the construction of reservoirs.
Dams are crucial for the progress and stability of a country. Pakistan is an agricultural country relying on water. Unfortunately, she has only two large water reservoirs- Mangla and Tarbela, constructed many decades ago. It is saddening to note that Tarbela has already lost its efficiency up to 20%. As a result, the country is also facing an acute water crisis. Unlike India’s 120 days, she has water reserves of only thirty days. Therefore, she should build small and large dams to ensure enough water storage for domestic, industrial, and agricultural use. It will also help her eliminate the energy crisis, which, consequently, can lead her towards prosperity.
Pakistan should learn from previous mistakes. Failure in constructing new dams has made her a water-stressed country. Similarly, the energy crisis has become her main concern too. Undoubtedly, the various economic, social, environmental, and political obstacles lie behind delaying the construction of dams. However, solutions are always there if taken timely. Pakistan should develop a political consensus to make water reservoirs on a priority basis. The government’s sincere efforts would help the country achieve sustainable economic growth.
About Miss Saba Islam:
Saba Islam is one of the diligent students of Sir Syed Kazim Ali– one of the distinguished English language teachers in the world. Under his supervision, she is enrolled in the Creative English Writing Course. She has done Bachelors in Public Administration. She is, moreover, eager to write on multiple topics like Current Affairs, Pakistan Affairs, Public Administration, USA History, and many more.
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