Nepal lawmakers check border for Indian intrusion

January 31st, 2009 - 8:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Jan 31 (IANS) A team of Nepal’s lawmakers Saturday begun inspecting the nation’s eastern border with India to look into the mounting allegations from border towns that the neighbouring country was encroaching on Nepali territory.Headed by Padma Lal Bishwakarma, the International Relations and Human Rights Committee of the Constituent Assembly Saturday reached the tea garden district of Ilam to hold consultations with residents, government officials and security forces.

Nepal alleges that India’s border security forces have erected a camp in Ilam. Five areas adjoining India’s hill town of Darjeeling are also under dispute.

Locals claim that Darjeeling’s forest officials tried to build infrastructure on Nepal’s side of the border.

The lawmakers will also visit Panchthar district in the east, where an area is under contention.

On Friday, the team had been to Jhapa district where one of the pillars demarcating the border is under dispute.

India and Nepal share a nearly 1,800-km open border. Encroachment disputes have risen in almost half of the 75 districts of the Himalayan republic.

The boundary between the two nations is demarcated by rivers. With some of the rivers changing course during the years, the disputes have grown.

In November, when India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee visited Nepal, he had said that most of the border disputes had been resolved and a new boundary would be demarcated soon.

Two of the most contentious spots are Susta in Nawalparasi district in western Nepal and Kalapani in far-western Darchula district.

Nepal says while Susta has been encroached upon by Indian civilians, Kalapani is said to be occupied by Indian troops since India battled Nepal’s northern neighbour China in 1962.

A committee has been formed in Susta to reclaim Nepali territory and a memorandum submitted by it to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.

The committee has also warned it would start an agitation if the government fails to resolve the row.

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