Dil Bahadur Chhatyal/Republica An under-construction embankment on the Indian side near the Indo-Nepal border neighboring the Kairali Rural Municipality, Kailali in this recent picture.
KAILALI, Feb 18: An embankment being constructed by India near the Indo-Nepal border neighboring the Kairali Rural Municipality has alarmed locals of inundation in their areas during the rainy season. India is currently constructing embankment near the border of the municipality's ward number three, five and seven. Locals are angered towards the apathetic attitude of the government and not sharing its concerns with the Indian authorities.
"We were not that safe from flooding and inundation even in the past. Our locality has been inundated in the past as well and we had been urging the government to take initiatives to help us. Amid all these woes, India has been building embankment and that is definitely going to affect us even more. Who is going to take the responsibility of disaster that the Indian embankment is going to bring to our home?" fumed Kailash Chaudhari, chairperson of Kairali Rural Municipality - 3. "This embankment is sure to invite disaster in our area."
Our government cannot turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to something so serious. The Indians are building embankment in a very sensitive zone, this will inundate hundreds of houses here. --- Batasu Chaudhari, a Kairali Rural Municipality resident
Locals assume that around 1,300 houses are going to be affected once the construction of the embankment is constructed. It will the passage of water and force it to flow towards those wards of the municipality thereby inundating around 1,300 houses in those areas, Chaudhari claimed.
"We can count the houses. It is just so apparent. Once the monsoon rains start and the water level in the rivers rise, you will see for yourself what happens here," he warned.
According to Chaudhari, Nepali officials including himself had made efforts to stop the construction of the embankment. Several rounds of talks were held with local Indian authorities. 'However, they did not pay heed to that'.
"When we requested them for not erecting the embankment on the river, they retorted stating that they are free to use their land as they please," he said.
Chaudhari stated that though the existing bilateral treaty does not allow construction of any infrastructure within one kilometer from the border, India has been building the embankment by breaching the treaty. "Their unilateral decision is a very serious matter, they have already built three and a half kilometers of embankment along the river," he noted.
Expressing serious concerns over the issue, a local of Kairali Rural Municipality - 3 Dipak Sunar urged the Nepal government to take steps to stop the construction process. "It will be very unfortunate for us if our government allows the completion of the embankment. It will incur a huge loss of lives and property on our side," he said.
Also according to Sunar's neighbor Batasu Chaudhari, the stated areas of the municipality will convert into ponds once the construction of the Indian embankment completes. He urged the Nepal government to intervene in the matter and stop it before it is too late.
"Our government cannot turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to something so serious. The Indians are building embankment in a very sensitive zone, this will inundate hundreds of houses here," Batasu expressed worries. "We, as people cannot stop it. The initiative has to be taken from the government's side. High-level government officials should intervene in the matter and hold talks with their Indian counterparts," he added.
Chairperson of the rural municipality's ward number 5, Bishnu Chaudhari also recounted the story of the 'rude' behavior from the Indian officials when they had approached them for talks to stop the construction of the embankment.
"We talked with Indian officials several times. But they have not responded to it. They are going on with the construction of the embankment," he said. Bishnu is also the coordinator of the Nepal-India Relation Enhancement Committee, Kailali. However, he failed to make Indian officials see at the matter from Nepal's perspective, he said.
"It is not lawful. They are breaching the rule. But when we asked them to back off, they acted as if they they didnt hear us," Bishnu said.
Meanwhile, Kailali CDO Baburam Shrestha informed that he has been following up the case after hearing about the construction of the embankment. He stated that he has sent a team of Armed Police Force for field inspection.
"I have come to know about it. I have sent an APF team for inspection today. Tomorrow, another team from the Forest Department will be going there. We are gathering information about the report," Shrestha said on Sunday. "After we get all the information, we are going to send it to the center so that it can take due action in the case," he added.
This is not the first time Indian constructions have bothered locals living in border towns and villages. There had been struggles due to such issues at Dokebazar, Gauraifanta and other areas bordering Nepal. Weak presence of security forces is to blame for skirmishes. locals claim.
"The first thing is to have a strong presence of security forces along the border. If we have a strong presence and talk right away with the Indian authority before any such infrastructures are built, there will be no problem. But our government shows almost no presence at the border allowing them to intervene as they want," noted Prem Thapa of Dhangadi.