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Pakistan blames India for water shortage
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September 15, 2008 11:31 IST

Pakistani authorities have said that India has closed water flow in the Chenab river which it claimed was making a water shortage in the country more severe.

The alleged 'water blockade' by India could adversely affect kharif crops, particularly cotton and sugarcane that are in maturity stage and require final watering, and the sowing of rabi crops early next month, sources told the Dawn newspaper.

They said Pakistan's Indus Water Commission had taken up the matter with the federal government. It has also convened a meeting on Tuesday to take stock of the situation and to try to reach a diplomatic solution with India.

If the issue is prolonged, the sowing of rabi crops, particularly wheat, would be hit severely, the sources said.

Pakistan had to import over two million tonnes of wheat this year despite a record production of more than 23 million tonnes.

The water shortage could force Pakistan to import more wheat next year, adding to foreign exchange pressure and worsening its balance of payments crisis.

The Indus River System Authority has convened a meeting of its technical committee on September 20 to ascertain the overall water availability for the rabi season that begins on October 1.

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