India unilaterally constructs four wooden bridges over Mahakali River
DARCHULA: The Indian side has constructed four wooden bridges over Mahakali River without the consent of Nepal. Mahakali River forms the western-most border between Nepal and India.
India had sent a letter to the District Administration Office (DAO), Darchula a couple months back seeking Nepal's agreement to that connection. But they moved ahead with the construction of the four bridges without Nepal giving the consent.
The Indian side has constructed the wooden bridges at Najangkhola, Lakhanpur, Dopakhe and Kauthala of Budi, close to the tri-junction border area of Nepal, India and China.
Locals have said that India had constructed the wooden bridges on a temporary basis for crossing Mahakali River to the north of Darchula district. The labourers who have been employed by India for construction of a road are using these bridges to cross the river. India is constructing the road up to Kalapani and is opening up the track for this road.
The DAO, Darchula has already informed the Ministry of Home Affairs in Kathmandu regarding India's request. "We have not yet received the approval from the Home Ministry," Chief District Officer, Janardan Gautam said.
It is stated that India has taken three dozers, crossing Mahakali River at Lakhanpur via the Nepali territory, to the road construction site on its side of the border. The dozers have opened the track for the road on the Nepali territory as well.
The Indian side has also constructed a trail from Tambaku Khola to the base of the cliff at Thiee on the Nepali side of the border, said Dilip Singh Budhathoki, Chairman of Vyas Rural Municipality.
The unilateral construction of wooden bridges by India was confirmed by a joint monitoring team of the Armed Police Force (APF) Border Security Company, Darchula and the District Police Office.
"India should have coordinated with the District Administration Office before constructing the temporary bridges over the river that forms the border between the two countries, in view of the security of both countries. But the Indian side did not coordinate with us in this connection," Chief District Officer Gautam said.
The bridges have been constructed at sites that are located above the Nepali settlement, Dumling. So, the Nepali nationals have not been using the bridges. Instead the locals have urged the DAO to take initiative for the construction of a bridge near their settlement, citing that the bridges constructed above Dumling, Vyas Rural Municipality-2, are of no use to them.
Construction of suspension bridge and the road by India was also to be included in the agenda of the meeting of Nepali and Indian officials slated to be held in Pithouragadh, India on March 5.