India snubs flood-related issues during secretary-level talks

September 12, 2016 07:39 AM Kamal Pariyar

KATHMANDU, Sept 11: Despite Nepal’s emphasis on ending the prolonged plight of people caused by floods in the Tarai districts due to India-made embankments, the Indian authorities have remained reluctant in addressing the problems. 

During the Nepal-India home secretary-level talks held on September 8-9 in New Delhi, the Nepali delegation led by Home Secretary Lok Darshan Regmi raised the issue of annual floods in the plains which needs serious attention. The delegation had also sought compensation from the Indian government for the farmers who lost thousands of bighas of arable lands.  

“But our Indian counterparts diverted the issue saying that the flood-related problems in the bordering areas do not come under their jurisdiction,” a government official who returned back home on Sunday after participating in the bilateral talks said. 

Every year, over 13,000 bighas of land get submerged in the Tarai during the monsoon destroying crops and rendering thousands of people homeless due to Indian embankments. 

However, Home Ministry Spokesperson Yadav Prasad Koirala refused to comment on Nepal’s emphasis on the flood-related issues and said that both sides reviewed bilateral security cooperation. He also said that the talks were held in a ‘historically’ cordial atmosphere with very few remarks from Indian counterparts unlike in the past. 

After villagers and farmers living close to no-man’s land in the Tarai district pressurized the government of Nepal demanding compensation for the loss they have been bearing continuously since the past few years, the government authorities have been assuring those flood victims to provide some compensation. Since the last five years, dozens of villages in the districts have been submerged during every monsoon. 

The construction of embankments within 8 kilometers of the border is considered against international laws and conventions.  

The Indian delegation was led by Indian Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi while Susheel Kumar, secretary of Border Management Department also attended the meeting. Apart from Regmi and Koraila, National Intelligence Department Chief Dilip Regmi, Nepal Police AIG Kedar Prakash Saud, APF AIG Prem Shahi among others attended the talks representing Nepal.

The talks mainly focused on cross-border issues, mainly border disputes, counterfeit currencies, smuggling of drugs and arms and terrorism.

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