Locals launch protest as ICP nears completionLocals of Alau and Sirsiya in Birgunj have launched a protest to exert pressure on the government to provide adequate compensation for the land that they relinquished for construction of the Integrated Check Point (ICP), a facility that is expected to facilitate Nepal-India trade and transit.
Locals of Alau and Sirsiya in Birgunj have launched a protest to exert pressure on the government to provide adequate compensation for the land that they relinquished for construction of the Integrated Check Point (ICP), a facility that is expected to facilitate Nepal-India trade and transit.
The government has acquired 110 bighas of land in Alau and Sirsiya for construction of the ICP, which is coming into operation soon. A similar facility has already been built on the Indian side of the border.
Around nine years ago, the government had fixed compensation rate of Rs70,000 to Rs73,000 for per kattha of land acquired in Alau and Sirsiya. But after locals protested stating the Indian government had provided higher compensation to its locals to build a similar facility in the Indian territory, the Nepal government had formed a committee to revise the compensation rate. The committee had recommended that compensation of Rs562,706 be given for every kattha of land that locals give away.
“It’s been over seven years, but we haven’t been paid as per the revised compensation rate,” said Sumeshwor Upadhyaya, head of a group that is leading the protest.
To exert pressure on the government, the group on Tuesday held a demonstration in Birgunj and handed over a memorandum to Chief District Officer Binod Prakash Singh. The group has also organised a sit-in at the main entrance gate of the ICP beginning Friday. The sit-in will continue till Monday. “If our demand is not addressed by then, we will padlock the ICP,” said Upadhyaya.
The owners of the land have time and again reminded the concerned authorities to implement the recommendation made by the committee, according to Sanju Chatkuli, a local politician of Alau. “We have heard the ICP is coming into operation soon, so we are making last ditch attempt to press our demands,” said Chatkuli.
The government is planning to build four ICPs at Nepal-India border points of Birgunj, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj. Similar facilities will also be built on the Indian side of the border at Raxaul, Jogbani, Sunauli and Rupedia.
The Indian government is supporting Nepal to build these check points to facilitate trade and transit between Nepal and India as per the agreement signed in August 2005.
So far, only one ICP in Birgunj is nearing completion. It will take more time to build ICPs in Biratnagar, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj.
The ICPs will house customs offices, quarantine laboratories, immigration offices, banks and post offices, among others. Currently, all these facilities are scattered at Nepal-India border points and people have to travel quite a distance when they have to release cargoes or visit a quarantine post.
Also, ICPs built on Nepali and Indian territories will be interconnected to ensure smooth transfer of passengers and goods through Nepal-India border points.