Darchula officials, locals sit with Indian side to ease border tensionThe Nepali side has demanded India dismantle illegal gabion wall on Mahakali river.
In an apparent bid to improve the deteriorating relations between the locals of Nepal and India along the border area in Darchula, a meeting was organised on Sunday at the initiation of the District Administration Office of Darchula.
The meeting was participated by district administration officials, civil society leaders and people’s representatives of the two countries. The representative of the construction company that has been carrying out embankment work on the Indian side also participated in the meeting.
“The district administration coordinated the meeting so that the locals of both the neighbouring countries sit for talks to sort out the differences,” said Dirgha Raj Upadhyay, the chief district officer of Darchula.
Officials from Nepal and India had agreed to remove the temporarily built gabion wall along the Mahakali river within 10 days of their meeting held on December 7.
However, more than a month has passed and India is yet to remove structures that were constructed along the Mahakali river to change the natural course of the river.
Leading up to the December 7 meeting, tensions had flared up at the Nepal-India border in Khalanga of Darchula on December 4 after Nepali and Indian citizens chanted slogans and pelted stones at each other over India’s embankment of the Mahakali.
The Darchula locals had also staged demonstrations the following day in Khalanga, protesting the Indian construction. A nasty scuffle broke out after Bangabagar locals raised objections to the construction and closed the suspension bridge that connects Nepal and India.
Upadhyay said the Indian side has not removed the temporary structures completely as per the agreement. “The Indian side removed a small section of the temporary structures that were built to construct an embankment on the Indian side of the river,” he said. “The local people here complained that India did not implement the agreement reached earlier between the two countries.”
During the meeting, the local people of Nepal demanded that the Indian side had to remove the gabion wall built along the river. According to them, the gabion wall that was built in around a kilometre area will push the river flow toward Nepal during the rainy season which could wreak havoc on the Nepali side.
The Indian officials and the contractor have assured removal of the temporary structures soon.
Locals of Bangabagar in Darchula protested after the Indian side unilaterally started construction of an embankment along the Mahakali river. The locals closed the door of a suspension bridge that connects Nepal and India in protest of the construction stating that the embankment would change the course of the river. The protesters had pelted stones at the Indian workers in an effort to stop the construction works.
During the bilateral meeting of December 7, the Indian side vowed to remove the gabion wall while Nepal assured to not disrupt the construction of the embankment. However, the Indian side did not implement its commitment.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also sent a diplomatic note to India on December 6 following disputes in Darchula over the construction of an embankment in the Nepal-India border area. Nepal, in the note, urged India for a joint inspection of the site of dispute.