Friday, February 20, 2009

Joint Committee on Water Resource - Surrender (?) of Nepal's sovereign right over water resources

October 7, 2008
Mr Surya Nath Upadhyaya
Former Secretary
Ministry of Water Resources

Dear Mr. Upadhyaya

Receiving/reading your email I had a sense of déjà vu. Because, immediately upon reading the minutes “my” interpretation of the minutes struck me and shocked me, and as soon as I thought of writing the email below, it also dawned on me what will be your interpretation. Thus I am not surprised by your opinion. However, I will not reciprocate (I refuse to call your interpretation “misleading and wrong”) because each person is entitled to his/her opinion, notwithstanding the fact that your interpretation may be unacceptable to me. Because, I don’t have the ability to be intolerant of the view of the people, that is fundamentally different from mine.

I must admit that there is a critical mass of people, besides yourself, who opine that my interpretation is “misleading and wrong”. Moreover, it is also true that there are substantial number of people who are critical of the other view. Under Nepal law only Supreme Court has been vested with power to deliver final verdict on what interpretation is correct. Moreover, people still have right to disagree with Supreme Court’s view – even at the cost of facing lawsuit for contempt of court.

My interpretation of these minutes is based on history of treaties (Koshi through Mahakali) and agreements (west Seti), geography (I mean implementation of these on the ground) and the interpretation of these treaties. The track record is as follows:

1. Nepal invariably signs treaties after treaties and agreements that are unequal from Nepal’s perspective (even leading to “sell out of Nepal’s interest” as one particular school of thought believes).

2. Then these treaties get interpreted in favor of India (the wording of such document is constructed such that enough latitude is in-built in such treaties to be interpreted against Nepal’s interest).

3. Finally, to add insult to injury, these treaties get implemented in a manner that hardly ensures what was promised to Nepal in the treaties (from a multitude of instances, the example of higher bed level of canal network to irrigate Nepal’s farmland compared to the other network irrigating land in India should suffice).

Therefore, there is no point in you and me arguing as to what is the correct interpretation of a particular formulation. You must be convinced that your view is correct and I too don’t have any doubt as to my own view. I will also admit that I have interpreted with the best interest of Nepal and people in Nepal and would like to believe that you are also doing the same.

Today is Maha Astami and I take this opportunity to wish you happy Maha Astami and also happy Bada Dashain.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha

From: Surya Nath Upadhaya []
Sent: Saturday, October 4, 2008 19:44
To:; NNSD@yahoogroups.comSubject:
Re: Minutes of Joint Committee on Water Resource - Surrender (?) of Nepal's sovereign right over water resources

Dear all,

The interpretation given by Mr. Shrestha is misleading and wrong.He missed the point that the ministerial commission as I read the minute is only for those issues which falls within the ambit of bilateral co-operation which in turn would include those issues which the governments would like to take up bilaterally.I hope Mr. shrestha would understand the minutes.


At 09:19 AM 10/3/2008 +0545, Ratna Sansar Shrestha wrote:

Dear Colleague

I had the opportunity to peruse the minutes of the captioned committee. It was posted at MoWR website. This is a good move on the part of GoN from the perspective of good governance and transparency.

I have yet to study the document fully. But I have an urgent comment to make with regard to Section 24 (a) which has made provision a for three-tier bilateral mechanism with Joint Ministerial level Commission on Water Resources as the apex body. I am curious as to what will be the jurisdiction of this commission. Will its jurisdiction cover water resources of both Nepal and India (from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and North East India to North West India)? Although, I doubt that is the case but if that is the case then the existence of this mechanism is fully justified. I would appreciate it if responsible official of GoN could spare a few moments from their busy schedule to clarify.

If the jurisdiction of this commission is Nepal s water resource only, then it amounts to Nepal allowing Indian politicos and bureaucracy in the decision making process with regard to Nepal s water resources. I have serious reservation against it. In my considered opinion, this amounts to Nepal surrendering her sovereign right over her water resource to India. Why do we need a commission comprising Indians to decide the fate of Nepal s water resources? Is it for lack of competent people in Nepal who are able to understand and decide what is good for Nepal and her people? Or is it the case of Government of Nepal deciding that Nepal s best interest will only be served by the Indian politicos and bureaucracy? Doesn t it amount to governmental authority abdicating its authority as well as responsibility?

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha

1 comment:

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