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Nepal fast-tracks new map bill, president may approve it by Wednesday: Report


Kathmandu: Nepal  has fast-tracked the passage of a constitution amendment Bill to approve the country’s new map that includes Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura which figure in Indian maps.

The Bill, passed unanimously Saturday by the House of Representatives, was tabled in the Rastriya Sabha, the Upper House, on Sunday where several members, while urging the government to “reclaim” the “encroached” territories, called for early dialogue with India, The Indian Express reported.

Moving the Bill, Law Minister Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe, as per the report, said it is a “rare and historic moment” for Nepal since Parliament is “solidly” behind the government in its attempt to reclaim territory currently under Indian “possession”.

The passage of the Bill appears to be a formality given that 50 of the 59 members of the Upper House are from the ruling Nepal Communist Party. Members cutting across party lines have already backed the Bill.

Under the procedure for discussion and voting on the Bill, 72 hours is required for its maturity after introduction. But given the fast-tracking of the Bill, there is speculation that it may be sent Wednesday to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari for assent.

After its approval by the House of Representatives Saturday, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who had been very critical of India over the boundary issue, told reporters: “The first course is now over. And now dialogue with India will be the next course. I am happy about this unprecedented unity.”

Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said: “This artificial enlargement of claims is not based on historical fact or evidence and is not tenable. It is also violative of our current understanding to hold talks on outstanding boundary issues.”

The Nepal Ministry of Foreign Affairs appeared to be waiting for the Bill to become law before responding to the Indian statement.