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Nepal government to raise issues related to floods and dams with India

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said on Friday that Nepal government would raise issues related to flood, inundation as well as dams constructed by the Indian government in an upcoming Nepal-India Joint Committee Koshi and Gandak Project (JCKGP) meeting.
The meeting will be held at foreign secretary levels of both the nations at their convenient time. Last year, the meeting was held at the end of November.
“Nepal’s side will forward the issues of inundations, floods and several dams constructed by the Indian government as per the latest reports prepared by the government team of Nepal from the Department of Water Resources and Irrigation,” Minister Gyawali said.
He made this remark while speaking at an interaction entitled ‘Dam, Flood, and Inundation and its Way Out’, organised by the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) in the capital.
The report was prepared this year after conducting field surveys at two occasions under the leadership of Deputy Director General of the Department of Irrigation Pradeep Thapa.
He made a verbal presentation of the summary of the report drafted by the team at the programme today. The Nepali team had conducted the surveys from June 26 to 30, 2018 and from November 18 to 23 the same year.
Last year, the ninth meeting of JCKGP was held on November 28-29 in Kathmandu. In JCKGP, a high level delegation led by additional chief secretary, Water Resources Department, Government of Bihar, India attended the meeting.
As the flood and inundation problems are the issues concerned to both the nations, the issues like constructing dams, minimising human loss from the floods and inundations should be sorted out on the basis of mutual interests and welfare of the people of both the countries, he said.
In the upcoming JCKGP, Nepal will seriously raise the issue analysing national, international perspectives, and most importantly, by keeping the people’s interest in the centre, Minister Gyawali said.
“We will not make this issue a subject of ‘streets’, subject to be taken on the streets for protest, but would seek the solution to the problems of mutual interests through diplomatic channels,” he said.
Minister Gyawali said that recurring monsoon floods and its havoc from the north to south region (India) should be dealt rising above the national politics, boundary, and the specific interests of the nation.
The field survey report prepared by the joint inspection team of the Department of Irrigation of Nepal should be taken to the implementation level and would remain as an important document to Nepal, he said.
According to Minister Gyawali, the report has exposed the weaknesses on the part of both the countries while preparing infrastructure (dams) and should be corrected upon mutual interest of both the nations.
This is the first time, that such level of report had clearly mentioned weaknesses, faults, and loopholes on both sides while carrying out disaster preparedness construction works, he said.
Former ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyaya said that the government should be able to table and present its stance preparing a strong draft of the past agreements based on the proven technology and international law and practices while managing the water resources of Nepal. He said that floods and inundation were the issues of concerns more to India than Nepal, and as such, Nepal has enjoyed upper hand when it comes to managing and constructing two nations’ dams and infrastructure along the Nepal-India border.
Causing problem to the natural flows and routes of the rivers will not also be good for India as well, Upadhyaya said.
Former Water and Energy Minister Deepak Gyawali said that construction of dams and various embankments by India in the Terai has led to increase in the ground level of the river to Nepal’s side. The silt and mud levels in the Koshi and Gandak rivers have increased by four metres every year, he said.
He said that the Indian government had been more concerned on how the floods and inundation could be managed and minimised in their own land rather than addressing the concerns and interests of Nepal.

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