Koshi victims still await compensation

Then Indian ambassador Jayant Prasad had visited project affected areas in 2012

Rajbiraj, June 2

Decades after the 1954 Koshi agreement that paved the way for the construction of the Koshi bridge and necessary dams, a large number of farmers in Saptari and Udayapur in Nepal who bore the brunt of the project still await compensation pledged by the Indian government.

“We were told that the distribution of compensation would start in seven years, but over half a century since that agreement we’re here without anything in the name of compensation,” lamented Koshi Victim Upliftment Society chair Mohamad Kasim Ansari, demanding that they be provided the pledged compensation as soon as possible.

“There had been a meeting in Rajbiraj about six years ago which had decided to recommend compensation of Rs 105,000per bigaha but to no avail as we have got noting so far,” he said.

Koshi Victims Struggle Committee chair Mahidev Prasad Chaudhary said they were happy to accept compensation even if it were paid in instalments. “We had heard earlier that the Indian government had agreed to provide compensation for 10 years from 1961 to 1971; we are ready to receive the compensation in instalments if it was what it takes for the process to kick start,” he said, adding the victims are long waiting for the promised relief.

Earlier, in September 2012, then Indian ambassador to Nepal Jayanta Prasad had visited the areas affected by the Koshi project and conveyed his government’s willingness to compensate the affected farmers. Around that time, a meeting held under the chairmanship of then chief district officer Hariraj Panta of Saptari had also prepared an inventory of 7,663 bigaha eight kattha land in Saptari and Udayapur that was affected by the Koshi project.