Border pillars to go hi-tech with GPS

Border pillars to go hi-tech with GPS

Nepal and India have agreed to install the global positioning system (GPS) in every boundary pillar between the two countries in a bid to avoid future disputes on pillar location and to expedite reinstallation of the structures with pinpoint accuracy.

All the 8,553 pillars on the 1880km Nepal-India border will be fitted with the GPS system and monitored with the help of 83 control points.

“The GPS will make reinstallation of pillars easier should natural disasters or human encroachment destroy them,” said Madhusudan Adhikari, the director general of the Department of Survey, who led the Nepali delegation to a bilateral border meet.

The GPS will contain all information pertaining to the boundary pillars such as longitude, latitude, height and geographical location, according to officials. Officials expect to begin the GPS installation process within this fiscal year. Out of the total 8,553 pillars along the border, 1,325 are missing and 1,956 are in damaged or semi-damaged state.

Restoring damaged or destroyed pillars on the international border has been a thorny issue in bilateral relations as the dispute over the location of the original pillar often protracts.
Besides human encroachment on the no-man’s land that leads to deliberate destruction of boundary pillars, a large number of pillars are eroded and destroyed by the rivers and streams where they are installed.

The two countries have also agreed to construct special pillars in the middle of rivers, streams and dense forests. As much as 640km of the border area is covered by water, while some of it near Chitwan runs through a dense forest.

“In the border area covered by water, we will construct pillars in winter when the water level decreases. These pillars will be one metre above the water level during normal times,” said Adhikari.
This was decided during the second Nepal-India Boundary Working Group (BWG) meeting at the surveyor general-level held in Dehradun, India on August 26-27. BWG is one of the highest bilateral technical bodies mandated to restore the border pillars, undertake their reconstruction, restoration and repair by clearing the ‘no-man’s land’ on both sides of the border—in line with the strip maps jointly prepared in 2007. Nepal and India had prepared 182 sheets of strip maps except for Susta and Kalapani.
The meeting also prepared guidelines for the survey official’s committee responsible for undertaking the construction, restoration and repair, clearing the ‘no-man’s land’ except in the two disputed areas. The second round of this work will begin in October on both the sides. The first phase of repair and restoration was over in June.

Source: The Kathmandu Post