Nepal, India border talks in Sept

  • Families along border can choose where to settle after demarcation
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
Nepal, India border talks in Sept

Aug 27, 2014-

Survey Generals of Nepal and India are meeting in Kathmandu from September 17 to 19 to settle boundary disputes, including Susta and Kalapani, and to maintain border pillars which have been a prickly issue in bilateral relations.

The two sides had announced to form the Boundary Working Group (BWG) at Survey Generals level during the third meeting of Nepal-India Joint Comm-ission held in Kathmandu on July 25-26. They also decided to commence field work at the earliest for the construction, restoration and repair of boundary pillars including clearance of ‘No-man’s land’ or Dash Gaja and all other technical tasks as per the Terms of Reference (ToR) to be agreed by the first meeting of the BWG.

The meeting directed the foreign secretary-level mechanism to work on the outstanding boundary issues including on Susta and Kalapani on priority basis and take technical inputs from the BWG where necessary. Director General of Department of Survey Nagendra Jha, who is leading the Nepali team in the meeting, said: “It is a curtain raiser meeting which will discuss ToR of the mechanism and other logistics.”

The BWG is mandated to seek an amicable technical solution to the unsettled boundary row, to address the border encroachment problem, to reinstate missing border pillars and to repair the damaged ones, and clear the Dash Gaja.

“It will take around six years to complete the field work like repairing the border pillars, to reinstate missing border pillars and to repair the damaged ones, and clear the Dash Gaja. The two sides will form technical teams and deploy them in the field to settle the row,” said a senior government official privy to the development.  Initially, the two sides will deploy six different teams in the field to settle the issue of border pillars.

The BWG also manages the ‘cross-holdings’ of people living on both sides, according to the Foreign Ministry officials. People living on the Nepali side in bordering areas up to now have to shift to the Indian side after the demarcation. There are similar problems with people living on the India side. In such cross-holding cases, the BWG will manage the problem by providing various options.  

In such a case, the people on either side will be given the choice to decide where they want to live. If a Nepali family’s location shifts to the Indian side after the demarcation, they will be given an option to decide whether they want to permanently live in India or in Nepal. If a family wants to shift from either country, they will be given a year timeline to sell their properties and resettle in the country of their choice.

Officials from both the sides will conduct a local valuation of the land and compensate them for the resettlement. “We had faced a similar situation in the early 1960s while signing a boundary protocol with China. In case of cross holding, we will follow the precedent,” said the official. Signed at the technical level, the maps await ratification from higher authorities on both sides. According to the Nepali estimation over 8,000 pillars, including 640 in rivers, are required to demarcate the Nepal-India border. On land, 1,240 pillars have been missing.  

According to the Survey Department, some 2,500 pillars should be maintained or renovated and 400 constructed. For the missing ones, Nepal will present the 1816 situation, before Nepal and British India signed the Sugauli Treaty, as the basis.

Published: 28-08-2014 09:07

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