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Nepal aims to settle boundary dispute with India in 4 years

Survey plan does not include contentious Susta and Kalapani

- ANIL GIRI, KATHMANDU
Nepal has formulated an ambitious detailed work plan to settle a boundary row with India within four years.
A meeting of Survey Officials’ Committee in Dehradun, India at the December end agreed to conduct the field survey along the Nepal-India border by the first week of February. But it will not include Susta and Kalapani--the most contentious border points.
Susta and Kalapani, covering 40 km land along the 1,751-km long Nepal-India border, which were excluded in the previous surveys are now under consideration at the top bureaucratic level.
According to Madhusudhan Adhikari, director general of the Department of Survey, three separate survey teams will be deployed to carry out field works in three separate regions of Nepal.
“One team will be deployed east of Sunsari district to Taplejung; the second will work on east of Chitwan to Sunsari and the third will be mobilised west of Chitwan to Darchula,” Adhikari explained. “Each team will have four detachment teams that will conduct inspection along the border. The first team will keep record of pillars, the second will reconstruct missing or damaged pillars; the third will clear the no-mans land, handle the cross-holding issue and conduct inventory and the fourth will study GPS and coordinate the border pillar and boundary along with the maps prepared by the both sides.”
The construction, restoration and repairing of the boundary pillars will be carried out on the basis of GPS, taking aid of 182 sheets of maps prepared by both sides, Adhikari informed. The entire survey is expected to complete in four years.
During the visit of Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in July, the two neighbours had agreed to form Nepal- India Boundary Working Group (BWG) and directed it to commence work at the earliest as per the terms of reference to be agreed by first meeting of the BWG.
“The original idea was to complete the work by three years,” he said. “But as we are already in the middle of the Nepali year, it will probably take four years to complete the task.”
The field survey team will be led by chief district officer of the respective districts and district magistrate from the Indian side. Survey officials will be accompanied by Armed Police Force personnel during field visits on the Nepali side.
According to Adhikari, Nepal and India have erected a total of 8,553 pillars along the border. Out of that 1,325 are missing and 1,956 are in damaged or semi-damaged state. “We will erect new ones in the missing points and paint white colour on the existing ones. We anticipated that the issue of cross-holding will take more time than erecting or renovating the pillars,” said Adhikari.
Published: 2015-01-06 08:54:43