In an apparent provocative move, Nepal has stopped all repair work of river embankments in Bihar on the India-Nepal border, by erecting barriers and effectively putting a stop to work done by India to prevent flooding of its low-lying areas, the Bihar government has alleged.
This comes at a time when tensions between Kathmandu and New Delhi have escalated over a new map in which the neighbouring country has staked claim over some Indian territories.
Bihar, which shares over 700 kilometre-long international border with Nepal, can be severely affected by floods due to Nepal's action during the forthcoming rainy season as water from rivers coming from Nepal can overflow and wipe out entire villages.
Water resources minister in the Bihar government, Sanjay Kumar Jha, on Monday said his government will approach the ministry of external affairs and apprise them of the threat posed by the situation.
"The Gandak barrage in Valmiki Nagar has 36 gates and 18 of those are on Nepal side. They have installed barriers there, which has never happened before. Yesterday also over 1.5 lakh cusecs water was released from the barrage. If the flood-fighting materials and our officers cannot go there, then, in that case, there will be a grave danger," Jha said.
Similarly, Nepal has obstructed repair work on the embankment on Lalbakeya river, in east Champaran district in Bihar, where there is no man's land and the dam is present for 20 years.
Bihar had constructed the embankment over the river and had been carrying out fortification work every year ahead of the monsoon.
According to the minister they have never faced such objections from Nepal.
"Repair work used to take place without any problem till last year. This time they are not letting it happen. In Madhubani's Jaynagar upstream on Kamala river too they are not letting us conduct repairs," the Janata Dal-United leader added.
The minister said that it is for the first time that such behaviour is being observed from Nepal authorities.
"This is the first time we are noticing this trend. The Bihar government is the one which does all the repair work on that side and it is the first time that we are facing difficulties in sending material and officers," he said.
Jha also said that the local engineers and District Magistrates (DMs) are holding talks with the administration on the other side to resolve the issue. He also added that he will take up the matter with higher authorities.
"I will write a letter immediately to the MEA to make them aware of this issue. If this is not resolved soon then a major part of Bihar will get flooded during the rainy season," Jha said.