Pyaratal Lake encroached upon by India, say locals

Published On: November 16, 2019 09:20 AM NPT By: DIL BAHADUR CHHATYAL/PUSHPARAJ JOSHI

KANCHANPUR, Nov 16: The Indian side has uprooted pillars along the Indo-Nepal border in Kanchanpur to encroach upon the Pyaratal Lake, according to locals.

The Indian side has destroyed pillar number 195 and removed pillar number 196 in Punarbas Municipality-9 to encroach upon Pyaratal, which historically belonged to Nepal, said Ward Chairman Narayan Prasad Jaisi.

Locals say that India has removed the border pillars to encroach upon and exercise its exclusive rights on the Pyaratal Lake, which is near Dudhuwa National Park.

“India has been trying to exercise rights on the Pyaratal Lake due to its biodiversity,” according to Jaisi.

Of late, Indian officials have stopped the locals to fish in Pyaratal, claiming that the lake belongs to India. Locals say they are hit hard by the issue, as Pyaratal is the source of water for the locals in the region.

According to a local Dipendra Basnet, the Indian side has removed pillar number 196 that was 500-meter south to Pyaratal. Basnet further said that the Indian side had constructed a pillar with the same number in Punarbas Municipality-8.

“Locals have been regularly protesting against the move by the Indian side. The locals had destroyed the newly constructed pillars by the Indian side to encroach upon the Nepali territory,” said Basnet.

People in Punarbas, Parasan, Khuddakankad, Rampur Vilaspur, Shuklaphanta National Park, Gadda Chauki, Brahmadev of Kanchanpur district are also hit hard by the move from the Indian side. The land belonging to the locals is claimed by the Indian side. Nepalis are barred from exercising their basic rights such as farming in their own lands or going to the nearby forest.

Siddharaj Ojha, a resident of Punarbas Municipality- 8, said that he is not allowed to farm in his own land. “I have a land revenue certificate of two Bigaha land located in Jamunaghari. But, the Indian officials don't allow me to enter the land,” Ojha said, adding that the Indian security officials on the border threatened him while he tried to plow the field.

Likewise, another local Nani Thapa said that the locals fear to farm in their own land following threats from the Indian officials.

Locals say that they haven't been able to farm in their own land despite having the land revenue certificate. They said that they are regularly threatened by the Indian officials while trying to plow the land.

On March 9, 2017, Govinda Gautam, a local, was shot dead by the Indian security officials when he was protesting against the move of the Indian side. Later, the postmortem report showed that Gautam was shot dead by the Indian security officials.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the government will punish the culprit. However, locals say that the behavior of Indian officials on the border region is still the same.

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