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Pakistani farmers protest water shortages

KARACHI, Pakistan, March 9 (UPI) -- Thousands of farmers in the southern Pakistani province of Sindh squabbled with irrigation officials they blame for a lack of drinking and irrigation water.

Farmers skirmished with district officers in the irrigation division of subdistricts in Singh and tore down iron gates blocking irrigation canals, Pakistani newspaper The News International reports.

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Farmers also blocked an area road, calling for the release of water from alternative sources. They said they were not getting enough water for crops and livestock was dying of thirst.

Protesters complained that the local irrigation department closed an area canal and its tributaries in December for cleaning and repairs. Water from the tributaries flowed at a rate of 6,000 cubic feet per second, which farmers and residents say isn't enough to meet demands for drinking water.

Local officials said crops of wheat, sunflower and sugarcane dried up because of the lack of water.

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