Joint boundary works begin

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Apr 5, 2015-

After years of inactivity, Nepal and India officially commenced joint field work on Saturday to repair, maintain and upgrade border pillars in three stretches.

According to Nepali officials, the joint teams will complete in the first phase jobs of taking stock of the current situation of the border pillars, their demarcation, marking the boundaries to be maintained and fixing the location for erecting new pillars as per the GPS maps prepared by both the sides.

According to the director general of the Department of Survey, three separate joint teams hold meetings, prepare the terms of reference as mandated by senior officials from both the countries and begin work.

The planned work was postponed repeatedly in the past at the request of the Indian side.

One joint team will inspect pillars east and west of Rupandehi district beginning with Pillar No 1 located on the bank of Narayani River. Recording of the pillars in the stretch up to Nawalparasi is expected to be over before monsoon arrives.

Similarly, another team will inspect, take record and update the status of boundary pillars within three months in Chitwan, Bara and Parsa. The third team is expected to complete the task in Jhapa and Morang. Jhapa has many troubled pillars including missing ones.

Separate Joint Field Survey Teams have been dispatched to assess the current status of border pillars as per the joint maps prepared by the two sides in 2007. The two countries have prepared 182 sheets of boundary maps which include highly disputed areas such as Susta and Kalapani, which were not covered in earlier surveys.

The teams are led by under-secretary level officers including support staff from security agencies, local administration offices and land management offices. The two sides aim to complete the maintenance of border pillars within four years if the current pace of work continues, said Adhikari. This is the first time Nepal and India are conducting filed survey simultaneously in three sections. “One team, with four detachment groups, will be mobilised in each section,” said Adhikari. “The first team will keep record of pillars, the second will reconstruct missing or damaged pillars and the third will clear the no-man’s-land, handle cross-holding issues and prepare an inventory. The fourth will study GPS and coordinate border pillars and the boundary along with the maps prepared by both the sides.”

The two neighbours had agreed to form Nepal-India Boundary Working Group during the visit of Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in July last year. It was directed to commence work at the earliest. Nepal and India have erected a total of 8,553 pillars on the border, of which 1,325 are missing and 1,956 damaged. “We will erect new pillars where the older ones are missing and the existing ones will be painted white,” he said.

Published: 06-04-2015 08:40

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