Nepal plans helipad on disputed location in Bihar’s West Champaran district

Hindustan Times, Bettiah | BySandeep Bhaskar| Edited by Sabir Hussain
Aug 03, 2020 04:35 PM IST

Officials of the Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB) say a tender for the helipad has already been floated.

Amid strained relationship with India, the Nepal government is contemplating constructing a helipad at a disputed location on Indo-Nepal border along West Champaran district of Bihar, said Indian officials.

A patrol of the SSB on the Indo-Nepal border in Narkatiaganj subdivision of West Champaran district of Bihar.(HT PHOTO)
A patrol of the SSB on the Indo-Nepal border in Narkatiaganj subdivision of West Champaran district of Bihar.(HT PHOTO)

According to officials, the proposed helipad is coming up at Narsahi village, a short distance from Thari border outpost (BOP) of Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB) near Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) in West Champaran district, 80 km from the district headquarters Bettiah.

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“According to the information available with us, Nepal is planning to construct a helipad at Narsahi village which is a disputed land on the Indo-Nepal border. A tender for it has already been floated,” said Commandant Rajendra Bhardwaj of 21st Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB) Battalion.

“We have already informed the headquarters about the development,” said the commandant.

Officials blame the changing course of the Gandak river for the controversy around Narsahi on the Indo Nepal border along West Champaran district. “As agreed upon, the central of Gandak river forms the international boundary between Nepal and India. With the river changing its course in the 1970s, Narsahi shifted to the other side of the river and later the Indian citizens living there moved to this part of the Indian territory,” said Bhardwaj.

Known as Sapt Gandaki and Narayani in Nepal, it originates in the Nhubine Himal glacier in Nepal and flows across the Himalayan country before entering India near the Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar. The Gandak river flows another 300 km to meet the Ganga near Patna.

Nepal’s Parliament recently approved a new political map, claiming its territorial command over key areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura in Uttarakhand.

The Indo-Nepal border stretches for more than 800-km along Bihar. Last month Nepal stopped fortification of an embankment for 400 meters on Lal Bakey river in Baluwa- Guabari panchayat in Dhaka block of East Champaran district in Bihar, claiming that some part of the construction fell under its territorial jurisdiction.

Over the past two months there has been friction between the two countries along the border in Bihar.

On July 7, the Sashtra Seema Bal (SSB) foiled a Nepalese bid to put up a board in an area on Bharat-Nepal Matripul which reportedly lies in no man’s land near Raxaul town of East Champaran district of Bihar.

On June 13, Nepalease authorities buried an unclaimed body of a Covid-19 patient in their territory, barely 200 metres from Bharat-Nepal Maitri Pul at Raxaul in East Champaran district, creating panic among the locals.

On June 12, Nepal Armed Police shot dead a youth and wounded two others near Sitamarhi district border following an altercation with them.

On June 26, Nepal’s Armed Police Force (APF) withdrew a temporary camp set up at Pantoka village, appearing to be within Indian territory, near Raxaul town of Bihar’s East Champaran district.

Meanwhile, the SSB have intensified the patrolling along the Indo-Nepal border ahead of Independence Day.

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