Pak, India to discuss Chenab water issue on Oct 23

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Islamabad, Oct 10: Pakistan and India will hold talks in New Delhi on Thursday, Oct 23 to discuss the issue of reduced water inflows in the Chenab river. Pakistan claims that it has faced water losses of over 0.2 million cusecs in the Chenab river due to the water storage in Baglihar Dam in Kashmir in violation of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), Daily Times said on Friday, Oct 10.

A six-member Pakistani delegation, led by Water Commissioner Syed Jamat Ali Shah, would inspect the dam in Kashmir from Oct 18-22 before the two-day talks in New Delhi.

The Pakistani agriculture sector had faced a loss of more than Rs 40 billion due to the water losses in the river, and many areas in Punjab had been badly hit by the water shortage.

Pakistan believed that India had violated the IWT by reducing the water flow in the Chenab to fill the dam after August 31, 2008 and would demand compensation for water losses.

''Under the IWT, India cannot reduce the water flow in the Chenab below 55,000 cusecs between June 21 and August 31. However, Pakistan has been receiving 20,000 cusecs during August and September,'' said an official in the Water Ministry.

The Pakistani delegation will inspect the water storage in the dam from Oct 18 to 22 and ask India to compensate the water losses by releasing water in the Ravi, Sutlej and Chenab rivers.

Pakistan also plans to approach the World Bank for arbitration, if India denied it had reduced the water flow in the Chenab.

UNI

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