Change of course

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Susta was once perched firmly on the west bank of the Narayani River, which has long been considered as the border between Nepal and India. But with the river changing course due to climate change, and cutting persistently into Nepali territory, the village today finds itself on the east of the Narayani. India maintains the new course of the river as the boundary while Nepal disagrees, making Susta a contested portion of Nepal within India, surrounded on three sides by India, and on the fourth by the Narayani. It is estimated that 14,860 hectares have come under Indian encroachment thus far.

The Himalayan Times on 30th June 2011 reported that the Narayani had breached 135 hectares of farmland during the monsoon in Susta alone. This has been occurring at an accelerated rate for almost a decade now. “There is the ‘Save Susta Campaign’(a movement established to protest against Indian advancement into their land.) on one side and also the resistance with the river,” Laila Begum, a local, states, “How many battles must we fight?” But what are the issues that will be left to resolve if the land itself doesn’t exist anymore?

 

Story by Prasiit Sthapit