Kathmandu: Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Shivamaya Tumbahangphe tabled the amendment proposal to include a new political map depicting Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura within the borders of Nepal at the House of Representatives on Sunday.
The government had registered the bill at the Parliament on May 22, seeking to amend Schedule 3 of the constitution to update Nepal’s political map in the national emblem.
“As per Nepal’s Constitution Section 9, Sub-section- 2, the emblem of the country in Schedule 3, the Government of Nepal lately had issued an updated political and administrative map and approved it. The Constitution of Nepal Schedule 3 which has the national emblem with Nepal’s map and it is required to be changed as per the actual territory of the nation. In order to amend the Schedule 3 to incorporate the changes this amendment bill is hereby presented before the Parliament today,” Tumbahangphe said during an address to the parliament.
Nepal’s updated map was publicly released on May 20 after a go-ahead signal from the Cabinet meeting on May 18.
The Department of Survey under the Ministry of Land Management cited a map drawn during the Treaty of Sugauli, in 1815, and the order issued by the then Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher, as evidence to claim on the land belonging to the Himalayan nation.
The earlier map issued in 2032 BS had left Gunji, Nabhi and Kuri villages which now has been included in the lately revised map adding on 335 square kilometres of its land.
Formal discussion over the tabled bill is expected to start in this week while the government has already managed to garner two-thirds majority required to amend the constitution to include the lately issued map.
The House of Representatives or the lower house of Nepal has 275 seats out of which, ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has 174 seats and runs out of 10 seats for a two-thirds majority. The main opposition Nepali Congress has 63 seats and Janata Samajbadi Party 34 seats.
The tabling of bill was taken off the schedule last week after the Nepali Congress asked for more time to decide over the issue by conducting a Central Working Committee meeting which finally commenced on Saturday.
With a clear two-third majority in view after the incumbent government got support from the main opposition, it would be the second time that for Nepal to amend the constitution. Nepal on 2015’s September 16 promulgated constitution after years of debate which sparked protest in the southern plains of Nepal claiming it was not able to address and include them.
Tension has been mounting between New Delhi and Kathmandu after the issuance of a political map by Nepal on mid of May including the Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura, which India had earlier included in its map issued last November.
Diplomatic ties between the nations frayed further after the inauguration of road linking Kailash Mansarovar via Lipulekh on May 8 after which Nepal handed over a diplomatic note to India objecting the move.
Prior to the handover of a diplomatic note to the Indian envoy in Nepal, the land-locked country also had strongly objected over India’s unilateral move of constructing the road. Following a strong objection from Nepal, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said the road going through Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district “lies completely within the territory of India”.
Nepal said it has “consistently maintained” that as per the Sugauli Treaty (1816), “all the territories east of Kali (Mahakali) river, including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and LipuLekh, belong to Nepal.” Indian Defence Ministry had said the Border Road Organisation (BRO) in Uttarakhand has connected Kailash Mansarovar route to Lipulekh pass, which will provide connectivity to border villages and security forces.
Following a strong objection from Nepal, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said the road going through Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district “lies completely within the territory of India”. (ANI)