Koshi inundation issue should be internationalized
Nepal’s border expert, Buddhi Narayan Shrestha said that the unequal Koshi project agreement between Nepal and India should be either reviewed or chalked a new agreement. The problem, emerged after the breach of Koshi spurs and embankment, must be made as a matter of international debate, he opined.
Making his views at a program organized by the Mirmire Club in the capital on Friday, 22 August 2008, Shrestha further said, it has to formulate a provision of joint operation of the Koshi barrage by the personnel of both Nepal and India for its management and administration.
At present, all the activities to operate the barrage are under the unilateral control of India. He pointed out that existing system has to be changed and addressed immediately, so that it may not invite such catastrophe again, as it was damaged two spurs and embankment on 18 August by the swollen river Koshi this time.
Shrestha claimed that the problem emerged by the Koshi river this time is not a natural calamity, but a man made problem, not opening the sufficient number of sluice gates. Since India had taken the responsibility for the construction, management and operation of the barrage for 199 years, all the problems disrupted through it must be borne by India.
He added, there are 56 sluice gates in the Koshi barrage. Only 27 gates have been opened and operated during the time of high flow of water, when the incident took place. It shows that India adopted a policy to save their land from flooding, but to inundate the Nepali territory. Had it been opened 50 to 54 sluice gates, there should not have occurred this havoc in Nepal.
He emphasized that recently formed government of Nepal must put forward to India government without any hesitation, concerning the existing unequal treaties with India, including Koshi agreement.
Border expert Shrestha mentioned that 50 thousand Nepali nationals got into trouble due to the negligence of India not maintaining and repairing Koshi barrage for the last fifty four years.
Border knowledgeable person Fannindra Nepal said, heart of Nepali people has disregarded India, after the Koshi barrage embankment breached. India must pay the compensation of the damaged Nepalese life and property to Nepali people.
In the programme Bhim Acharya, a leader of Nepal Communist Party (UML) said, Koshi agreement defies all international norms. Koshi is not at all an agreement, Nepal has been betrayed by India while signing the agreement. He mentioned that Nepal has been cheated in the Koshi agreement done between Nepal and India. It should be reformed andamended.
Jip Chhiring Lama, a NC leader said, the Sunsari floods are not at all natural, it was in fact a surprise gift to the Nepali citizens by their Indian neighbors. The problem created by Koshi barrage damaged embankment should be resolved with a long term view.
“The Nepalese people must unit to fight against this Indian hegemony. We need to fight to preserve our nationalism and break all the illegally built embankments by the India side along the Nepal-India border”, Lama concluded.
(Source: Gorkhapatra Daily and Telegraph Weekly, 2008-08-23)