Indian causeway on border inundates settlements in Banke

Published On: June 24, 2019 08:05 AM NPT By: Arjun Oli

Hundreds displaced

NEPALGUNJ, June 24: Over a hundred houses were inundated while a dozen houses were completely damaged in the bordering villages of Narainapur Rural Municipality of Banke district on Sunday as a causeway being built by India along the Nepal-India border obstructed the natural flow of rainwaters.

A large number of settlements in wards 1, 2 and 3 of Narainapur were flooded as the under-construction causeway near the no man’s land blocked the water flowing from the northern part of the villages.

Many people were displaced as around 100 houses were inundated while a dozen were destroyed by the rainwaters, according to Istiyak Ahmad Shah, the chairman of Narainapur Rural Municipality. “The water flowing from north to south was obstructed due to the Indian causeway. This sent the swollen rivers toward the settlements,” said Chairperson Sah.

He further added that the floodwaters have damaged the foodgrains, utensils and clothes inside the houses and terrorized the locals. Chairman Shah was himself engaged in the rescue work on Sunday. The ward office of Narainapur-1 in Katkuiya is also submerged.

The obstruction by the Indian causeway has also affected the Postal Highway. Even though the Indian authorities have placed some hume pipes under the causeway to allow the water to flow, they have not been of help at all, say the locals. Stating that rescue work has been tough, Chairman Shah said, “We urged the chief district officer (CDO) to deploy security personnel for the rescue work but he has done nothing until now. People may die if rescue work is not conducted on time.”

Meanwhile, the CDO as well as the Coordinator of Disaster Management Committee Madan Bhujel blamed the Indian causeway for putting the locals in Narainapur at risk. “This problem will be solved if the Indian authorities build enough culverts and place more hume pipes under the causeway,” said Bhujel. However, this isn’t the first time Narainapur has been flooded as this happens every monsoon.

As per international practice, no country is allowed to build physical infrastructures within eight kilometers area of the no man’s land. If a country decides to do so, it must take permission from the neighboring country but India has breached the international practice by building the causeway without consulting with Nepal.

This has affected the natural flow of rivers and put many settlements at risk. India is planning to blacktop the road in the near future. “This may be a road for India but it’s a life-threatening embankment for us,” said Ram Chandra Maurya of Matehiya, Narainapur. The under-construction causeway is around five meters high and 30 meters wide.

CDO Bhujel claimed that the issue is often brought at border meetings but still the Indian government is doing nothing.

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