Nepal will raise flood issue with India: Minister

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Kathmandu, Aug 25 (UNI) Nepal Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav has said he would take up the issue of devastating flood caused by collapse of Koshi River embankment last week during bilateral talks with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee on the sideline of BIMSTEC meeting, reports said here today.

''I will discuss with Indian counterparts possible immediate support for flood victims in Sunsari as well as the need to find a long term strategy to prevent such disasters in future,'' The Kathmandu Post quoted Mr Yadav as saying.

He said lack of timely maintenance of Koshi barrage and its embankment had rendered over 50,000 Nepalis in Sunsari and 500 thousand in Bihar homeless.

Mr Yadav will visit New Delhi on August 28 to attend the ministerial meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

He said the government should introduce short and long-term relief and rehabilitation programs for flood victims and formulate a concrete policy to avert inundation and flood problems caused by Koshi, Gandaki and other rivers in Tarai region.

He also informed that immediately after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal returns from China, the government would form a commission to probe the Koshi embankment collapse and take further action against the guilty.

Asked about the government's views regarding review of past treaties between Nepal and India, Mr Yadav said, ''Both Nepal and India should seriously review past treaties in terms of the changed political context.'' Responding to a query about Indian officials' concern over Mr Dahal's visit to China instead of India, the Foreign Minister said he would try to clear the confusion, if any, with the Indian side.

He said that the new government's foreign policy would also be guided by the principles of panchasheel and non-alignment, and the government would maintain its relation with India and China on an equal footing.

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