Govt preparing to ‘sell’ Chure hills to India

Published On: May 28, 2023 04:00 PM NPT By: Debendra Basnet

KATHMANDU, May 28: The government has started making preparations to sell Nepal’s Chure hills to India legally by crafting a policy for the same. 

Experts claim that the government is preparing to make a law and hand over Nepal’s Chure hills to India. In points 42 and 61 of the government's policies and programs presented earlier this month, it is mentioned that stones, gravel, and sand will be extracted from rivers and exported to other countries.

According to Chure experts, the government has deliberately included these two points in its latest policies and programs with the main objective of selling the Chure hills to India. According to Chure expert Bijay Singh, the purpose of these two points is to create a comfortable environment for handing Nepal’s Chure over to India.

Singh said that there is a heightened risk of the government bringing an Act to sell Chure to India. “The government is taking the wrong decision to sell Nepal’s boulders and sand to India,” he said, “What is going to be sold in this way is nothing but the Chure hills. The government is looking for the right chance to formulate an Act to sell the Chure hills .”

“Even last year, the government said in its policies and programs that Nepal's boulders would be sold to India, but at that time it could not be implemented,” says Singh, “Now it is said that the selling of the Chure hills will be carried out by introducing a law. There is real fear that the government will sell the Chure hills!”

During the previous government, the then finance minister Bishnu Paudel brought a proposal to sell Nepal's boulders and sand to India but it was strongly opposed. After the protest, the government said that the boulders would be extracted and sold only from the Mahabharat hills so that Chure hills would not be affected in any way. At that time, the government said that boulders would be extracted from 92 different places.

“The government of that time, which made a policy to export boulders and sand from 92 places and sell them to India, even said that it would not affect the Chure hills in any way,” says Singh, “But all the places designated by the government are located on the Chure hills.”

Singh says that even though the decision was not implemented in the previous year due to the protests that the Chure hills were going to be sold, there are indications that the current government will hand the Chure hills over to India.

“The government is soon going to announce the new budget. If it (selling Chure) is mentioned in the budget, then our Chure is gone for sure,” he said, “Who is going to say that all this should be stopped from finding a place in the budget?”

Similarly, he also sees a serious danger that Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s visit to India could approve the decision to sell the Chure hills to India.

“There is a danger that PM Dahal may make a written or oral agreement on selling the Chure hills to India during his visit to India,” said Singh, “If such an agreement is made, it will not be easy to save the Chure hills.”

According to experts, the government is planning to sell the Chure hills to improve the economic system, pointing to the economic recession of Nepal as the main reason. 

Binod Bhatta, the coordinator of the committee formed six years ago for the formulation of the Chure master plan, said that the government has started taking wrong steps to destroy the Chure hills in the name of improving the country's economy.

“The economy of the country is currently weak. There are other ways to improve this economy, but the government has made a false excuse of improving the economy in order to sell Nepal's Chure hills,” Bhatta said, “Shouldn't the government take care of the fact that 60 percent of Nepal's population can be displaced when Chure hills are sold?”

According to experts, there are 132 municipalities and rural municipalities in the Chure region of Nepal. Chure is the main source of water for these local bodies.

He argues that if Nepal sells the Chure hills to India, the people living in this region will be displaced. According to him, if Chure is destroyed, there is a danger that agriculture in the Terai region will be ruined. “If India excavates stones, pebbles and boulders from the Chure hills, the remaining sand will eventually flow into the farmlands of Terai,” he said, “Once that happens, how will there be agricultural production? Will the people in Terai be able to feed themselves?” Similarly, he said, the people in Terai won’t even get water to drink. 

According to Chure expert Singh, the government has seen the greed of Rs 200 billion income from the sale of Chure hills. He argues that the government is trying to cause a loss of hundreds of billions of rupees to Nepal by showing greed for Rs 200 billion shown by traders and crusher plants operators.

“The government has prepared to hand over the Chure hills to India for the greed of Rs 200 billion,” said Singh, “But this will eventually cause a loss of hundreds of billions of rupees to the country. If India excavates the Chure hills, the locals of the Chure area will face scarcity of food, the watershed areas will dry up, and the Terai area will be converted into a desert.”

Bhatta said that if this step of the government, which is planning to export the boulders of Chure by formulating a law, is not stopped, then the Terai’s desertification will take no time. “Once a law is made, there will be no possibility of stopping the excavation of the Chure hills,” he said, “Even if we adopt a legal way to stop this, by the time the case is solved, India will have finished off the Chure hills.”


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