Diplomatic initiatives urged to dismantle Indian causeways on border

Published On: July 15, 2019 07:33 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 15: While venting their ire against the Indian authorities for unilaterally constructing causeways along the border with Nepal, lawmakers from the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) as well as the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) have urged the government to take necessary diplomatic initiatives to resolve the problem of flooding and inundation caused by the unilaterally built ‘embankment-like roads’ by the Indian side along the border. 

Addressing a meeting of the parliamentary State Affairs Committee (SAC) on Sunday, lawmaker Brijesh Kumar Gupta criticized the government for not making contingency plans in advance to address the flooding problem. He urged the government to make necessary diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue of the causeways built along the border. 

While warning that the entire tarai would be submerged if India continued building ‘reservoirs’ on the border, Gupta urged the government to take immediate diplomatic initiatives to resolve the issue. 

Also speaking in the meeting, NCP lawmaker Jhapat Bahadur Rawal argued that the ‘unequal’ treaties reached with India in the past should be reviewed. “We need to review all unequal and anti-national treaties reached by our ancestors in the past and keep the country and people in the center [while reaching such treaties],” he said. 

Nepal Workers and Peasants Party lawmaker Prem Suwal alleged that the Indian side has built ‘dams’ along the border in breach of the international practice to build any such structures within eight kilometer from the international border. 

Similarly, NC lawmaker Dila Sangraula asked why the government had failed to take diplomatic initiatives to dismantle the unilaterally-built causeways along the border. Opening the sluicegates of the Koshi Barrage only when there is flood cannot address the problem of flood that occurs every year, he said. 

NCP lawmaker Rekha Sharma also alleged that the illegally-built structures by India along the border were mainly to be blamed for the floods and landslides in the plain districts. She also drew the attention of the government to constituting a separate National Disaster Response Authority to effectively deal with floods and landslides across the country. 

NCP lawmaker Yashoda Subedi argued that the tragedy seen in the plain districts was not induced by nature but by human-built structures. While arguing that the causeways built along the border were not in the interest of the Nepali people, Subedi suggested to the government to take initiatives to dismantle such structures built against the international norms. 

Speaking on the occasion, most lawmakers complained that those affected by the flood had not yet received any kind of support from the government. They also asked the government to relocate the people affected by the floods and landslides and make necessary arrangements to prevent further loss of life and property.

The meeting held at Singh Durbar also directed the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Home Affairs to expedite rescue and relief operations in the flood- and landslide-hit areas. “We have asked the government to relocate the people caught in floods and landslides,” said SAC Chairperson Shashi Shrestha

In the meeting, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa provided details of the loss of lives and property by floods and landslides triggered by incessant rainfall. He informed the meeting that the government had already intensified rescue and relief operations in the flood- and landslide-hit areas.

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