Nepal’s Lower House votes unanimously on a new political map

The parliament of Nepal voted on the constitutional amendment bill in a special session on June 13 to update the map of Nepal which now includes the Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand along with Limpiyadhura and Kalapani.

The opposition Nepali Congress and Janata Samajwadi Party- Nepal came together with the ruling party to amend Schedule 3 of the Constitution to pass the new map. Of the 275-member Lower House, two-third majority was required to pass the bill.

The new map will now be sent to the National Assembly for a similar process, after which it will be submitted to the President for authentication and then, it will be incorporated in the Constitution.

The map was cleared by Nepal’s ruling party last month after India and Nepal got into a territorial dispute when Indian Defence Minister inaugurated an 80-km road linking Uttarakhand with Lipulekh via video conferencing.

“I hear by declare the Second Constitution Amendment passed with two-thirds majority,” announced Agni Sapkota, Speaker of Pratidhi Sabha, amidst celebrations.

In response to media queries India’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “We have noted that the House of Representatives of Nepal has passed a constitution amendment bill for changing the map of Nepal to include parts of Indian territory. We have already made our position clear on this matter,”

He added, “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.”

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The dispute is over the Kalapani, Limpiadhura and Lipulekh trijunction. The Kalapani territory lies at the eastern border of Uttarakhand in India and Nepal’s Sudurpashchim Pradesh in the West. While India claims the Kalapani region to be a part of Pithoragarh district, Nepal claims it to be a part of Dharchula district.

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