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Delhi dam denial

New Delhi, Aug. 18: India has categorically denied construction of any dam inside Nepal on the river Rapti and offered a joint inspection with Kathmandu to verify its claim.

Sections of the Nepalese media had reported that because of the dam being built by India at Laxmanpur — inside the Nepalese territory — on river Rapti, large areas in Nepal had been inundated causing heavy damage to villages in Nepal. They also suggested that similar constructions at Koilabas and Mahalisagar by the Indians were causing severe problems for Nepalese villagers.

The reports had caused concern in India as there were fears that it could lead to unnecessary strains in bilateral relations, which has proved to be extremely delicate and sensitive to similar propaganda in the past.

Describing the reports as “contrary to facts” and “misleading”, India said in a statement that not a dam but a barrage was being constructed on the Rapti and claimed that it was 8 km from the border and well within Indian territory.

“There is a marginal embankment on the Indian side of the border constructed as part of the Laxmanpur barrage (Rapti barrage) which protects Indian villages from inundation,” the statement said. It also clarified that the barrage was not yet operational as neither the canal system associated with it was ready nor were its gates being operated at the moment.

“The question of closing the gates of the barrage and causing inundation on the Nepalese side, as had been claimed in the reports, does not arise. Equally misleading are reports that on the request of Nepalese officials, three of the gates of the barrage were opened, leading to amelioration of the problems on the Nepalese side,” the statement said. “No such event took place,” it added.

India has also denied constructing any dams at Koilabas. Regarding Mahalisagar, the statement pointed out that India had already given detailed clarifications to the Nepalese side but, if need be, it was ready for a joint site inspection with Kathmandu.

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