Nepal starts construction of helipad on disputed border area in Bihar
Even before the administration could act on intelligence reports, the Nepal government has begun construction of a helipad at a disputed location on the Indo-Nepal border along West Champaran district of Bihar, officials said Thursday.
The helipad is nearing completion 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 Bettiah, headquarters of West Champaran district.
“To the best of our knowledge, construction of the helipad meant for small choppers started a few days back on the disputed area,” said Commandant Rajendra Bhardwaj of 21st Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB) Battalion.
On August 4, HT had reported that Nepal was planning to construct a helipad at Narsahi village which is a disputed land on Indo-Nepal border and a tender for which had been floated. The SSB had updated the headquarters about the development.
However, much to their amazement, SSB officials on Thursday came across the construction of a circular cemented structure at Narsahi village. “We are trying to gather the other related information such as the total area of the helipad and the date on which it came up,” said the commandant.
“The construction is at a disputed location. We will update the headquarters with photographs and other details,” said commandant Bhardwaj.
Officials blame the changing course of the Gandak river for the controversy around Narsahi. SSB officials said the central part of the Gandak river forms the international boundary between Nepal and India. But 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.
A video clip of the site in HT’s possession shows the construction with a yellow border around it at a place near an agricultural field. Bricks and water tanks are seen lying on the site and pieces of iron rods and wet ground point it to be newly constructed.
The development comes after the relationship between India and Nepal has become strained particularly after the latter’s Parliament approved a new political map, claiming Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura in Uttarakhand as its territory.
There are also speculations about the proposed construction of two more helipads along the Indo-Nepal border. These include one at Triveni near Valmikinagar (West Champaran) and other in Ujjaini (Nawalparasi district of Nepal) sharing border with Uttar Pradesh.
“There is a concentrated effort being made by a handful of KP Sharma Oli supporters to provoke us whereas a larger section of the Neplese are in favour to protect their age-old relationship with us. It is high time when New Delhi should break its silence and do the needful,” said Mahesh Agrawal, president of Seema Jagran Manch, Bihar, which works in the border areas.