New dispute emerges between Nepal, India over embankment construction

Nepal and India have engaged in a new diplomatic row after Nepali citizens pelted stones at Indian nationals on the order side of the border over the embankment construction by the Indian side.

The incident on Sunday led to the injuries of four Nepali nationals, including a minor.

The locals at Khalanga, the district headquarters of Darchula on the Nepali side, had sternly protested against India’s unilateral construction of an embankment to divert the flow of the Mahakali River.

The irate locals fear that their settlement could be at risk due to the embankment.

They had demanded that the construction work be halted immediately.

In Kathmandu, the Ministry of Home Affairs has written a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs urging them to take up the matter with the Indian side regarding the incident.

The Indian side has taken up the matter saying that some of the citizens were also injured during the course of stone pelting and urged to take action against the perpetrators.

“Mahakali is a border river. If the structure made on the border affects the other side, such unilateral works should be stopped immediately,” said Rajan Bhattarai, head of the CPN-UML’s international relations department.

“What is happening in Mahakali should be stopped immediately and find an agreement through bilateral talks in this matter so that the bank of the river would not be changed. Since this is a federal government issue, the Centre should take the initiative,” Bhattarai said.

On Monday, officials of Nepal and India discussed Sunday’s incident.

According to the Chief District Officer (CDO) of Darchula Dirgha Raj Upadhyay, both sides have agreed not to construct the embankment in such a way that incurs a loss to both sides.

“The two sides agreed not to construct an embankment immediately at the place where the dispute ensued and construct only in the place where there was no dispute,” said Assistant CDO Hemanti Saud.

Present in the meeting were chiefs of the security agencies and representatives of political parties from the Nepal side while the talk team of the Indian side included Additional District Magistrates and Sub-Divisional Magistrates.

The Indian side has installed a gabion net some 7 to 10 meters from the site where the embankment was under-construction.

The Nepali side requested the Indian side to remove it immediately.

20221206-153004

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