700 Sq. Km Encroached

700 square kilometers encroached upon


No other issue fuels anti-India sentiments in Nepal more than border encroachment. While left-leaning parties continue to whip up Kalapani and Susta, reports of border dispute with China have also begun to surface with more frequency of late. What is the state of Nepal’s frontiers with India and China? Is Nepal’s territory shrinking?Mahabir Paudyal, Koshraj Koirala and Prem Thapa sat down with renowned border expert and former Director General of Survey Department Buddhi Narayan Shrestha to find out. 

Can you enlighten us on the state of encroachment of our borders?
Nepal shares 1,880-km border with India with 26 districts adjoining the giant neighbor. There are claims and counterclaims at 71 different locations. Of this, the most disputed is Kalapani-Lilmpiadhura area of Darchula district. There is a history behind the encroachment of 37,000 hectares of land there. During the 1962 Indo-China war, Indians were looking for a place where they could be safe and yet harm Chinese troops should the latter make further inroads into India. Indian troops found Kalapani the perfect place to do so. They thought they could use the 20,276-feet high butte there as their station to thwart the Chinese attack and disperse Chinese troops, by rolling down rocks and stones if everything else fails. They occupied Kalapani for this purpose and have been doing so ever since. Susta of Nawalparasi is the second largest encroached upon area with 14,500 hectares in dispute. But nature seems to have played a big role in this encroachment. By the time Nepal signed Sugauli Treaty on March 4, 1816, Narayani River was flowing toward north-south from Triveni Ghat. Subsequent floods changed the river course. The river began to erode Nepali land and India could claim more and more of Nepal’s territories. 


Are there any estimates about the extent of encroachment of Nepali territories from Indian side? 
Currently, altogether 60, 662 hectares of land is under encroachment and cross-holding. You need to distinguish cross-holding from encroachment. Cross holding happens because of unclear border demarcations, big spaces between Junge pillars and loss of such pillars. Because of this people from the other side of the border have been able to inhabit this space. 

There is a perception that Indian establishment backs such encroachments. What is the truth?

I cannot tell you about other places but Indian locals, Central Government, Sasastra Seema Bal and political parties in Bihar are behind the encroachment in Susta. I have heard that BJP leaders in Patna encourage the poor and the landless to inhabit Susta in return for votes. Besides, SSB forces stand by those Indian farmers living in the encroached land and treat those who protest cruelly. When Gopal Gurung, Adam Khan (11 bigas of his land has been encroached by Indian locals) and Laila Begum of Susta protested, SSB forces threatened them at gunpoint. In some other places SSB is said to have arrested the protestors and tortured them. 

Is the problem of encroachment limited to India or do we have similar issues with China? 

Many people think Nepal has border problems only with India. But that’s not true. Border demarcation between China and Nepal was carried out in 1961 following a border treaty between the two countries. At that time, there were border disputes with China at 32 locations. Then, China had made a claim on Gaurishnakar Mountain, even Mount Everest. But in two years all such disputes were settled. But Lungdep village of Lamabagar in Dolakha district has emerged as a conflict point. Six years ago a joint border team had been formed to renew the border protocol between China and India. Back then Chinese officials claimed that the boundary marker no. 57 was out of place and that it had to be moved towards Nepali territories. Nepal has not agreed to it citing that the marker was erected in 1961 and cannot be moved. This has put six hectares of land in dispute. The dispute drags on also because Nepal-China Joint Border Commission that was formed six years ago has been idle. 

We studied in school that Nepal’s area is 147,181 square kilometer. How much of that area is still under Nepali jurisdiction?

If you consider both encroached and disputed areas as much as 700 square kilometers might be subtracted from the figure of 147,181. This is a very serious issue. The fact that more than 60,000 hectares of land has been encroached upon means that people living in those territories are slowly becoming aliens in their own country. If encroachment continues at the current rate and if we continue to watch from the sidelines, millions will soon become aliens and our nation and nationality will be under serious threat. Eventually, it could even end Nepal’s existence. 

Isn’t there an amicable way to settle these disputes? 
Solutions are not hard, except for Kalapani. There is great diplomatic and political interest of India in Kalapani. But in other areas, if experts from Nepal and India collect all the old maps and documents and tally them with the existing disputed borders, we can find out the reality. 

Have Nepal and India taken any such initiatives?

Nepal India Joint Technical Committee had been formed in 1981 for this purpose and it worked for 26 years before it was dissolved in January 2007. The Committee settled 97 percent of border demarcation disputes and prepared 182 strip maps. Surveyors from both Nepal and India have put their signatures on those maps. Only three percent work remains, including on disputed regions of Susta and Kalapani. 

Why could not the committee settle the issues of Kalapani and Susta as well?

India has been insisting that plenipotentiaries of the two countries should first endorse 97 percent work and remaining three percent should be settled by a Higher Commission. But Nepal has not agreed to it because such a proposal is against the principle of international boundary settlement. International boundary principle allows for endorsement of such an agreement only after 100 percent work has been completed. Also India seems reluctant to solve the problems at times. In an attempt to solve Susta and Kalapani dispute, Nepal proposed making an 1853 map issued by British India’s Department of Survey as the basis for demarcation. India studied that map but backed out because it clearly shows Susta and Kalapani are in Nepal. When Nepal asked for the reason India claimed that such a map was not scientific. India refuses to follow this map because if it does it will have to leave Kalapani and also return our land at Susta. 

What is India’s claim? Which map does it consider valid?

India has forwarded a map issued in 1879. The map shows Nepal’s hills, valleys and rivers accurately. But the symbols (dash and dots) seem to have been manipulated in such a way that they show Kalapani within India. It is clear that those dots and dashes were forged. This was an act of ‘cartographic aggression’. I believe that the original version of this map can be found either in the US Library of Congress or the British Museum. If we tally Indian claims with the original map, we can find out the reality. 

How will border encroachment affect constituency delineation work and state restructuring?

Constituencies should be delineated on the basis of rivers, hills, roads and canals. Border issues may have little effect on it but if we set about restructuring the state without settling encroachment issues, it is sure to have serious repercussions on Nepal-India relation. 

How do you view Supreme Court’s stay order on government’s decision to allow India to open checkpoints at Pashupatinagar and Lumbini? 
According to principles of international boundary and border management, a country can open checkpoints and immigration offices only within its frontiers. India’s attempt was a continuation of its border encroachment policy and an attack on Nepal’s sovereignty. The Supreme Court thwarted the attempt just on time. 

Let us turn to border management. How should Nepal and India regulate their borders?

Before Sugauli Treaty, Nepal had closed border with British India. The treaty changed it into regulated border system. After British India and Nepal signed Supplementary Boundary Treaty on November 1, 1860, open border system came into place. But there is no treaty or formal understanding between two countries that there shall be an open border. Open border has created a lot of problems on both sides. 

How can these problems be solved?
India and Nepal will need to do a few things. Let us install CCTV at border checkpoints. It will help us track criminals. Let us keep proper records of those who enter Nepal from India, and vice-versa. Let us implement ID card system. We should fence the border but establish enough entry and exit points. People living within five kilometers of the frontier should be allowed free mobility. Nepal-India border can be easily regulated, if we show strong will.

Published on 2013-07-18 00:00:40

Masonry ( Junge ) Boundary Pillar


Issue of Junge pillar PP- 1 of Bhadrapur

     The Nepalese people believe that Junge pillars are the main boundary monuments erected on the boundary line between Nepal and India. But field level Indo-Nepal joint border survey team regarded the Junge as the reference pillar (RP) while they were working on the Mechi riverine sector during December 1995.

BP-1 PP Trijunction

      The team was demarcating the then course of the river Mechi with the help of a map of 1874 AD that bears the heading and internal details on Persian script. They started to erect new boundary pillars in the Bhadrapur area of Jhapa district ignoring the Junge pillars, the existing main BPs. By this action, the boundary line has been shifted towards Nepal nearly one kilometre west of Junge permanent pillar (as it is inscribed PP-1) and Nepalese territory has been encroached. As a result, half of the compound of Bhadrapur High School came under Indian territory. This caused much hue and cry not only among the local people of Bhadrapur but also other parts of Nepal including the capital city and it became the national issue in 1996. In the mean time Bhadrapur municipality issued a white paper highlighting the issue and problem. Ministers, political leaders, MPs, government officials, members of social organizations, research institutions and intellectual council visited the area. An advocate, Balkrishna Neupane filed a writ-petition in the Supreme Court on the Mechi border dispute.


     After all these activities, Chief District Officer of Jhapa made a public notification on 21 March 1998 that it will be examined by the Nepalese survey team at first and the matter will be put in the next joint meeting of Nepal-India survey team. At the joint meeting it was decided that the issue would be resolved in a spirit agreeable to both the sides after the joint field inspection. The joint survey team worked along the border of Jhapa district during field season of 1999-2000 as well, but the problem remained as it is. As a result, neither the status of masonry Junge permanent pillar (PP) nor newly erected subsidiary pillar has been determined. And this is the main issue concerning the status of Junge pillar.


Description of Junge pillar

      Junge pillars are the masonry pillars, the construction of which started was just after the Treaty of Sugauli-1816, with a view to demarcate the border between Nepal and India. It is regarded as the main boundary pillar with its shape and size. The dimension of Junge pillar is 2.2 metres in height and its diameter is 3 metres in round shape. Its foundation is 1 mtr deep under a rectangular platform of 2 mtr by 1 mtr. The pillar is constructed with bricks, mortar of brick-powder and limestone and glued materials. It is a pre-cast monument homogenously round in shape with its top round and smooth slope. A ditch normally 2.5 mtr deep and 1.5 mtr wide is dug around the pillar to protect it from man, animal and other objects. It is painted with lime water to be seen distinctly from far off distances. In the explanation index of the map entitled British Boundary on the Northern Frontier of Zillah of Poornneea in North Behar-AD 1818, the dimensions (shaft, decretion, foundation, width, depth etc.) of Junge pillar have been mentioned with a picturesque drawing. Close to this drawing a sentence “pillars of Masonry along the Boundary connection the Ditch at the angle” has been written. The people believe that Junge pillars are the historical monuments of the border between Nepal and India. These are the pre-cast pillars having its serial number inscribed on the upper portion, as the pillar PP-1 is located east of Bhadrapur, Jhapa district on the way to Galgalia railway station, India.

 16- Jhapa Junge Pillar- 2 copy

            Masonry (Junge) Pillar PP-1 of Bhadrapur works as the Tri-junction point of Bihar-West Bengal-Nepal Border. Unfortunately, India regards this Junge Pillar as a reference pillar, not the main boundary pillar. The debate between Nepal and India was raised till 2000. But this issue has been stranded.


            Recently, Special Security Bureau or Sashastra Sena Bal of India has occupied this Junge Pillar and they have constructed thatched house ignoring the area of No-man’s Land.

Why Khalanga Glided Down

             खलंगा किन बग्न पुग्यो

                            बुद्धिनारायण श्रेष्ठ  

Picnic Budhanilkantha

२०७० असार २ गतेको मुसलधारे वषर्ाले नेपालको पश्चिमी सीमाको काम गर्ने महाकाली नदीमा अकस्मात बाढी आई यसको किनारमा अवस्थित दार्चुलाको सदरमुकाम खलंगा बगायो । हिमाली क्षेत्रबाट उर्लिएको महाकालीको बाढीले सदरमुकामको भूगोल र नक्सा नै परिवर्तन गरिदिएको छ । बाढीको चपेटामा परेर १३ सरकारी कार्यालय, १ सय ५ पक्की घर, १७ सुकुम्बासी टहरा, ४ मन्दिर बगाएको छ भने जलविद्युत योजना, झोलुंगे पुल र खलंगा-तिङ्कर सडक खण्ड क्षतविक्षत भएको छ । साथै २ हजार ५ सय जना वासिन्दा विस्थापित हुन पुगेका छन् । सबभन्दा बढी क्षति खलंगा वडा ५ को बागाबगरको हाटबजार लाइनमा भएको छ ।


यहाँ प्रश्न आउँछ, भारतको धार्चुलादेखि नदीपर्ूव रहेको नेपालको दार्चुला सदरमुकाम खलंगा किन बग्न पुग्यो – सामान्यतया भन्न सकिन्छ, तीन दिनको लगातार वषर्ाले नदी उर्लिएर महाकालीको भंगालो नै पसेर नेपालतर्फको खलंगालाई तहस-नहस पार्‍यो । तर यहाँ अर्को जिज्ञासा उत्पन्न हुन्छ सीमा नदी महाकालीको भंगालो किन नेपालतिरै हानियो – यसमा पाँच मानवीय र प्राकृतिक कारण रहेको पाइन्छ ।

पाकृतिक प्रकोप
प्रथमतः छोटो समयमा धेरै ठूलो वषर्ा हुन गयो । २४ घन्टामा १ सय ५८ मिलिमिटर पानी दर्कियो । ४६ वर्षछि यस पटक महाकाली नदीमा पानीको बहाव उच्च रहृयो, फलस्वरुप ४ लाख ४० हजार क्युसेक नाघ्यो । यसबाट दार्चुला-धार्चुला जोड्ने सीमा पुललाई बाढीको पानीले छुन केही मिटर मात्र बाँकी रहेको थियो ।


दोस्रो कुरा, पर्ूव र पश्चिमबाट आउने दर्ुइ मनसुन वषर्ा एकैचोटी नेपालको पश्चिमी भू-भागमा पस्नु हो । बँगालको खाडीमा विकास भएको पर्ूर्बी मनसुन र अरेबियन सागरमा विकास भएको दोस्रो दक्षिण-पश्चिमी मनसुन प्रणाली एकैपटक पश्चिम नेपालमा भित्रिएका कारण त्यस क्षेत्रमा मुसलधारे वषर्ा भयो र नदीमा अकस्मात पानीको मात्रा बढ्न पुग्यो । अनि कालीको भंगालोले खलंगा बगायो ।

मानवीय कारण
दार्चुलाको खलंगा बगाउनाको मुख्य कारण भारतले धौलीगंगा नदीको सीमावर्ती क्षेत्रमा बनाएको ब्यारेजको ढोका एकाएक खोलिदिनाले हो भन्ने कुरा आएको छ । दार्चुला र धार्चुलाबाट करिब १८ किलोमिटर उत्तर-पश्चिममा भारतले धौलीगंगा नदीमा जलविद्युत उत्पादनका लागि  बनाएको बाँध सन् २००६ अप्रिल ६ मा तत्कालीन भारतीय उर्जामन्त्री सुशीलकुमार सिन्धेले उद्घाटन गरेका थिए । यसबाट २ सय ८० मेगावाट शक्ति उत्पादन हुँदै आएको छ । धौलीगंगा र काली नदीको संगम तावाघाटको नेपाल-भारत सीमाबाट ६ किलोमिटर टाढा रहेको ५६ मिटर अग्लो र ३ सय १५ मिटर लामो यो नियन्त्रण ढोकायुक्त बाँध हो । बाँधले छेकिएको पानी ७० मिटरसम्म गहिरो छ । असार २ गते धौलीगंगा नदीको जलाधार क्षेत्रबाट वषर्ाको पानी सोहोरिएर आएका कारण बाँध र तटबन्ध बगाउने अवस्था सिर्जना भयो । त्यसैकारण बाँधको पूरै ढोका खुला गरियो । यसबाट बाँध क्षति हुनबाट बच्यो । तर ढोका खुला गर्दा सोहोरिएर आएको पानीले नेपालको दार्चुला खलंगामा भंगालो नै पसेर महाकाली नदीले ताण्डव नृत्य देखायो । परिणामतः अर्बौं रुपैयाँ बराबरको धनमाल क्षति हुन पुग्यो । हजारौं नेपाली जनता घरबारविहीन भई विस्थापित हुन पुगे ।

नेपाली जनताले धौलीगंगा बाँधको ढोका पुरै खोलिदिएका कारणले नै खलंगाको भू-भाग बगाएको महसुस गरेका छन् । नेपाली जनमानसले यस्तै सोचेको छ । असार ८ गते भारतीय दूतावासको कान्तिपुरमा प्रकाशित विज्ञप्तिमा भनिएकोे छ- ‘महाकाली नदीमा आएको बाढीले नेपालको दार्चुला सदरमुकाम खलंगासहितका क्षेत्र कटानमा पर्ने गरी आएको बाढी धौलीगंगा बाँधको कारणले होइन । नेपाली भू-भाग डुबानमा पर्ने गरी आफूहरूले बाँध नै खोलेको छैन । बाँधसम्म पुग्ने बाटोसमेत भत्किएको छ । यसमा भारतले बाँधको पानी खोलेको भन्ने प्रश्न नै उठ्दैन ।’

भारतीय दूतावासले यस्तो विज्ञप्ति जारी गरे तापनि नेपाली विज्ञ तथा राजनीतिज्ञहरूले काठमाडौंमा आयोजित एक कार्यक्रममा महाकाली नदीमा आएको बाढी प्राकृतिक प्रकोपभन्दा पनि भारतीय पक्षले धौलीगंगा हाइड्रोपावरका ढोका खोलेकोले भएको हो भनेका छन् । नेपाली कांग्रेसका प्रवक्ता दिलेन्द्रप्रसाद बडुले दार्चुला बग्नुमा वषर्ा पहिलो कारण भए पनि धौलीगंगा दोस्रो कारण भएको दाबी गरेका छन् । पर्ूव जलस्रोत सचिव द्वारिकानाथ ढुंगेल तथा जलविज्ञ सन्तबहादुर पुनले ‘भारतीय पक्षले बिनासहमति महाकाली नदीमा बनाएको तटबन्ध र धौलीगंगाको ढोका खोलेपछि दार्चुला बगेको हो’ भनेका छन् ।

दोस्रो कारण, दार्चुला-धार्चुलाको सीमापुलको ठीक उत्तर भारतले धार्चुला बजार बचाउन तपोवनदेखि धार्चुलासम्म ३ किलोमिटर लामो स्पर तटबन्ध निर्माण गरेकोले त्यसको ठ्याक्कै वारि खलंगाभित्र महाकालीको भंगालो पस्न पुगेको छ । यस ठाउँमा महाकाली नदी करिब र्सपाकारमा बगेको छ । उत्तरबाट बग्दै आएको नदीमा तटबन्ध नबनाइएको भए अहिले धार्चुला बजार पूरै बगाउन सक्ने थियो । यद्यपि अहिले धार्चुलातर्फपनि गोर्खा रेजिमेन्टको तालिम केन्द्र समेत गरी २० घर बाढीले बगाएको छ । तटबन्ध भएका कारण धार्चुलाको धेरै भाग बच्यो । तर कालीको पानी त्यस तटबन्धमा ठोक्किएर नेपाल तर्फो छेकबाररहित दार्चुलातर्फ पस्यो र नेपाली भूमि नाश गर्‍यो ।

खलंगाभित्र नदीको भंगालो पस्नाको तेस्रो कारणचाहिँ दार्चुलातर्फको नदी किनारको ढुंगा झिक्नाले पनि हो । समय-समयमा यस क्षेत्रको ढुंगा नेपाल तथा भारततर्फका ठेकेदारले झिकी अन्यत्र लैजाने गरिएको छ । पानीको स्वभावअनुसार अग्लोबाट होचोतर्फ बग्ने भएकोले ढुंगारोडा झिकिएर होचो बनेको दार्चुलातर्फ सजिलै भंगालो पस्न सक्यो । यस पंक्तिकारलाई संझना भएअनुसार करिब चार दशकअघि कामेश्वर झा दार्चुलाको प्रमुख जिल्ला अधिकारी रहँदा काली नदीको पर्ूर्बी बगरको चट्टानी ढुंगा द्रुतगतिले झिकिएको थियो । यसमा उनले आँखा चिम्लिए । काठमाडौंमा रिपोर्टिङ नगरेको हुँदा उनी अवकाशमा परेका थिए । यसबाट भारतको धार्चुला बचाउन निकैअघिदेखि नै प्रयास हुँदै आएको बुझिन्छ ।

जहाँसम्म भारतीय दूतावासको विज्ञप्तिमा नेपाली भूमि डुबानमा पर्नेगरी बाँधको ढोका खोलिएको छैन, भारतले बाँधको पानी खोलेको प्रश्न नै उठ्दैन भनिएको छ- यस सम्बन्धमा दुवै देशको संयुक्त अध्ययन टोली गठन गरी जाँचबुझ गरेर नेपाली जनमानसमा उत्पन्न शंका निराकरण गरिए दुवै देशको मित्रता अभिवृद्धि हुन जान्छ । स्मरणीय छ बाढी आउनु अघिल्लो दिनसम्मको गुगल अर्थको फोटोहरू अवलोकन गर्दा घौलीगंगा नदीको बाँधभन्दा तल्लो तटीय क्षेत्रमा पानी बगेको देखिंदैन । अब असार २ देखि ५ गतेसम्मका स्याटेलाइट फोटो उपलब्ध गरी अध्ययन गर्दा ती दिनमा धौलीगंगा बाँध दक्षिण नदीको पानी उर्लिएको देखिन्छ या देखिंदैन । नदीमा बाढी उर्लिएको नदेखिए बाँधको ढोका खोलिएको रहेनछ भन्ने जान्न सकिन्छ । तर नदीमा भेल देखिए ढोका खोलिएकै कारण सुख्खा नदी उर्लिएको हो भन्न सकिन्छ । यसबाट उर्लिएर आएको नदीको भंगालो खलंगातर्फपसेको हुनर्ुपर्छ भन्न सकिन्छ ।

माथिका कुरा जेसुकै भए तापनि अहिले महाकालीको भंगालो पसेर खलंगालाई ठुलो क्षति पुर्‍यायो । कुनै पनि सीमावर्ती क्षेत्रको भू-भागमा क्षति पुग्नु र त्यस क्षेत्रका जनता पीडामा पर्नु छिमेकी देशका लागि पनि सुखदायी कुरा हुँदैन र हुनु हुँदैन । अहिलेको अवस्थामा पीडितले राहत पाउने व्यवस्था हुनर्ुपर्छ र भविष्यमा यस्ता घटना हुन दिनु हुँदैन । यसका लागि दुवै देशले संयुक्त अध्ययन गरी भविष्यमा धार्चुला र दार्चुलामा मात्र होइन सीमावर्ती अन्य क्षेत्रमा समेत यस्ता घटना दोहोरिन नसक्ने गरी भौतिक संरचना निर्माणको बन्दोबस्त मिलाउनु पर्छ ।

Nepal’s Border Blues

Seema Sangram1

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