Nepal and India have decided to complete construction, restoration and repair of boundary pillars, including clearance of no man´s land along eight bordering districts from 2015.
According to Deputy Director General of Department of Survey Madhusudan Adhikari, a Survey Officials´ Committee (SOC) meeting scheduled to be held in Dehradun, India in December is set to deploy three Field Study Teams (FSTs) to commence the work beginning January, 2015. “We plan to complete construction, restoration and repair of boundary pillars along eight districts in 2015 and remaining others in the following two years,” he told Republica.
Adhikari said the decision is made as per the agreement reached between Nepal and India during the first Boundary Working Group (BWG) held in Kathmandu in September 17-19 to settle boundary disputes including those related to border pillars in next three years. Taplejung, Panchthar, Ilam, Saptari, Siraha, Nawalparasi, Kapilbastu and Rupandehi districts are the eight districts FST plans to settle border disputes row in 2015.
The FST led by the Chief District Officer of concerned district of Nepal and District Magistrate in India comprises of representatives from the Department of Survey, Armed Police Force and Department of Forest will work together with similar team from India to settle the border disputes in the field.
There are total 26 bordering districts where dispute over boundary and missing pillar exists with India.
A three-day BWG meeting led by chiefs of the Survey Department of the two countries in September 18-20 had decided to form its subsidiary body called Survey Officials´ Committee (SOC) led by the Deputy Director General of Department of Survey and the FST led by concerned Chief District Officer from Nepal and District Magistrate from India to expedite its field works.
The BWG — a new bilateral mechanism formed this year after a similar body called Joint Technical Level Nepal-India Boundary Committee formed in 1981 expired in 2007 — aims at making recommendations based on facts and evidences available to their respective governments to permanently settle border disputes, especially those relating to border pillars.
As many as 1,325 of the total 8,553 border pillars erected in the Nepal-India border are missing, according to the Department of Survey. While 1,956 pillars are under construction a few others are yet to be constructed.
A Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting held after a hiatus of 23 years in Kathmandu in August 25-26 had decided to form the BWG to commence fieldworks at the earliest to settle border disputes between the two immediate neighbors who share open and porous border.
The commission also directed the foreign secretaries to work on outstanding boundary issues, including Kalapani and Susta, receiving required technical inputs from BWG as necessary.
Likewise, the issue was taken up during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal on August 3-4. While underlining the need to resolve pending Nepal-India boundary issues once and for all, the two prime ministers had also welcomed the JC´s decision to form BWG to undertake the construction, restoration and repair of boundary pillars, including clearance of no man´s land and other technical tasks.