SAPTARI, Aug 4: It has been more than half a century since India and Nepal signed the agreement to construct the Koshi Barrage. And experts from both countries are saying that the barrage is already old. However, Nepalis displaced by the barrage construction or who lost their lands due to erosion caused by the barrage are yet to receive any compensation.
Thousands of such victims in Saptari, Sunsari and Udayapur districts have yet to receive their compensation. They have been waiting for the past three generations . Sadly, the governments of both Nepal and India have been ignoring their cause for years.
Dhaneshwar Majhi was 29 when the governments of the two countries signed the Koshi Agreement in 1954 to regulate the flow of the river and ensure a proper flood management mechanism. His son Kapleshwar was not even born when the Nepal government started requisitioning private land for the project, promising appropriate compensation. At the time, the project took away nearly 50 bigha of Majhi's land.
It has been a decade since he passed away. His son Kapleshwar is now 73. A new generation of the family has grown up.
“My father struggled a lot to claim the compensation. He has already passed away and the compensation is yet to materialise,” Kapleshwar said. “I also have reached the fag end of my life now. My sons and my cousins have been engaged in a similar struggle for years. It has so far been futile.”
Kapleshwar's son Gajendra has inherited the compensation cause from his grandfather. “Our generation is continuing the compensation struggle started by our grandfather. But all our efforts have been futile so far. Hope is slowly fading ,” he said.
Kashim Ansari, chairman of the Koshi Victims Struggle Committee, said, “On one hand, the government of India has been ignoring our demand for decades. Our own government has failed to pressure the Indians over compensation on the other,” he said.