Issue new map comprising Indian-encroached areas: House panel

Published On: December 14, 2019 07:50 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 14: The International Relations Committee of the parliament has directed the government to issue a new political map of the country by including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh inside the Nepali territory.

The committee also instructed the government to expedite bilateral talks with India for retrieving the encroached territories and removing the Indian troops from Kalapani.

The decision of the lower house committee comes just a month after another parliamentary panel issued a similar directive to the government.

On November 11, the State Affairs Committee had asked the government to update the political map of Nepal by including Limpiyadhura after the Indian government released a new political map by including Kalapani and Lipulekh areas inside India.

Last week a joint committee comprising members of both the upper and lower houses of parliament had summoned ministers and officials to inquire about the same issue but the committee could not take any decision after Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali and Land Management Minister Padma Aryal snubbed the summons.

At least three parliamentary committees have taken up the border encroachment issue after the Indian government released the controversial map on November 2.

“We were the first to hold a meeting on the issue because bilateral issues fall under our jurisdiction, but earlier we didn’t issue any directive immediately,” said Pabitra Niraula Kharel, the chairperson of the International Relations Committee. 

Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa attended all three parliamentary committee meetings after they summoned him to inquire about the border issue. Lawmakers came down heavily on Foreign Minister Gyawali and Land Management Minister Aryal for ignoring the summons. 

Meanwhile, officials said due to lack of coordination among the parliamentary committees, ministers and officials are summoned by the committees separately to inquire about the same issues.

“Although we tried to hold joint meetings with the SAC, that could not happen,” said 

Chairperson Kharel. “Absence of speaker is one of the reasons why there is lack of coordination and collaboration between the parliamentary committees.”

Home Minister Proposes increasing APF size
Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa on Friday said the government is planning to increase the number of the Armed Police Force (APF) personnel with a view to strengthen border security along the Nepal-India border.

Briefing the committees on the government’s plan about border security, Minister Thapa said that the existing 37,000-strong APF is insufficient for increasing the number of border outposts (BOPs) along the Nepal-India border. He said the government has been planning to increase the outposts to around 160 from the existing 102. 

“India has deployed the SSB [border security force], Army and Gorkha Rifles along the border with one security post located every kilometer. But Nepal has very few border outposts -- one every 20-30 kilometers. We need to more APF personnel to install more border outposts,” Thapa said. 

According to Thapa India has encroached around 400 square kilometers of Nepali territory between Limpiadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh after the Sino-Indian war in the 1960s.

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