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Humans beings depend a lot on the natural resources provided by the nature for their survival. The recent period of human history differs with the earlier period in its strikingly high rate of resource utilisation. In the present environment, apart from energy the other important focus of any nation is in garnishing fresh water, one of the most precious natural resource.

Water is required for the domestic use, industrial purpose and agriculture. With the increasing human population and depleting natural resources, as perceived by most, water is likely to be a source of major conflict in the near future.

As per analysis, with the impact of global warming and population boom, by the year our world would be suffering from dramatic effects of hydrologic poverty. There would be great disputes and even war over water. For a country, water is brought by two ways, either as precipitation over her national territory or as inflow from upstream countries in the same river basin.

The use and misuse of water in the upstream countries affects its quality and usage in the downstream country. South Asia is a region for both water abundance as well as water scarcity. The Hindukush — Himalayan region together with the ancillary mountains is one of the largest store houses of fresh water in the world with most of the nations of this sub continent depending on the same in one way or the other.

However, water problem in Asia is already severe, with a large population not having access to safe drinking water. Both India and Nepal share one of the largest geo hydrological region called the Ganga — Brahmaputra basin. Most of the major rivers of the sub basin of Ganges river originates from Nepal and thus are trans boundary in nature.

Nepal occupies 13 percent of the total drainage of Ganges basin and in terms of annual water flow; it contributes up to 45 percent. The hydrological features bind both India and Nepal geographically as far as water resource is concerned.

There is considerable scope for joint endeavour between both the nations on issues pertaining to water resource development and water management. However various issues relating to the same has not been smooth. This dissertation attempts to analyse the genesis of the problem with regard to the Indo — Nepal Mahakali treaty and suggest measures to resolve the deepening divide. The Mahakali treaty is formally operational. However, there is a disagreement over interpretation of the provisions.

A negotiation based on equitable sharing, i. Water insecurity is omnipresent in the region, visible in conflicts and tensions erupting within and across countries. As water is becoming a scanty and critical resource with every passing day, sharing and management of trans-boundary water continues to be a bone of contention in any attempts to build a common understanding, stability, peace and cooperation in the region. Though there are a numerous treaties as far as sharing of trans- boundary river is concerned, however in many places the bilateral treaties signed by different countries and India themselves have become sites of conflict.

For a fast developing economy and for a nation like India which believes in the principles of peaceful co existence, there arises a need to address issues which are of concern. As regards to the region is concerned, water governance specifically and ecological governance at large has never been as strong, nor as urgent as now with the growing impact of global warming and depleting fresh water bodies.

There has always been the big versus small nation syndrome on many such issues. The need to resolve issues pertaining to trans boundary water is very much essential for peace and cooperation in South Asia.

Therefore there arises a need to institute a framework for water governance that is fair, equitable and environmentally sound and resolve such issues which when addressed appropriately could go a long way in the development of the region as a whole.

This study concentrates on the Mahakali Integrated Development Treaty under the backdrop of various principles of international law governing international rivers and thereafter advocates some suggestions to resolve the conflict. Although various other joint water resource development treaties currently in place between the two countries are inextricably linked with the subject, the same debate has been excluded from the subject.

Information for this dissertation was obtained from documentary and non- documentary sources. Cyber media was adequately accessed to obtain the latest views on the subject. A bibliography is appended at the end of the text. In order to harness the benefits of the Mahakali river between India and Nepal, a multipurpose project was planned. The Mahakali treaty though provides for a construction of a project on the Mahakali river however it has its background to various historical events, which led to the conclusion of these agreements.

As regard to the Indo Nepal water treaty, the water resource development dates back to when the British Indian government decided to build the Sarda barrage to irrigate the United Province.

As per the treaty, Nepal government agreed to transfer In exchange Nepal received an equal amount of forest land from the British Indian government to the east[2]. In addition the British Indian government also agreed to give 50, rupees, a supply of 4.

The project was undertaken by the British Indian government for its own benefit and at her own cost in addition to an equitable transfer of land with some benefits as regard to sharing of water is concerned, being provided to the Nepal government. In India and Nepal signed the Kosi agreement which entailed construction of a dam on the Kosi river for the use of the river water. The Kosi river is one of the major rivers of Nepal.

One of the peculiarities of the river being that it shifts its course frequently and used to flood the plains of Bihar. The Kosi project agreement was signed with the aim of preventing floods in Bihar, diverting the confined water for irrigation and hydropower generation 20, KW [4]. The 1. The barrage was entirely in Nepal with the eastern main canal in India[5]. Later in the western main canal was completed of which 35 km stretch of the canal passed through Nepal which was designed to irrigate hectares of land as far as Darbhanga in India towards the west and hectares of land in Nepal[6].

Though the project was completed; however there arose a discontented feeling in Nepal. Though India adjusted to the concerns of Nepal, the agreement created a rift in the relations between the two countries and Nepal became cautious for initiation of any new agreement.

As per the agreement, Nepal government allowed India to construct a barrage at her own cost. The barrage was designed to irrigate , hectares of land in the state of Bihar and 37, hectares in western Nepal from the eastern main canal and similarly , hectares in Uttar Pradesh and 20, hectares in Nepal from the western main canal[7].

The barrage was constructed on the Indo — Nepal Border. The agreement met similar criticism as had the Kosi project. The discontented feelings arising from the Kosi and the Gandak irrigation project were the reasons which inhibited any progress on the projects to include the Pancheswar and Saptakosi to name a few later on.

Furthermore a constitutional amendment made Parliamentary ratification necessary by two third majorities for any treaty or agreement relating to natural resources which affect the country in a pervasively grave manner or on a long term basis. In the meantime, in , India began constructing the Tanakpur Project.

The project was started unilaterally on the land which was transferred to India under the Sarda agreement[8]. Problems started on the eastern afflux bund that required tying the barrage to the high ground on the left bank in Nepal. India needed about 2. In lieu Indian agreed to provide 25, cusecs of water as well as supply 25 MW of electricity. Nepal however demanded 50 and 59 percent share in water and electricity respectively. The project arrived at a political stale mate.

In December during the visit of Nepalese Prime Minister to India, it was concluded that Nepal government would allow construction of the meters left afflux bund in its territory so as to prevent a recurrence and to ensure poundage of water at the dam site.

In return India agreed to provide cusecs of water annually with 10 million units of electricity. However the issue led to a political turmoil in Nepal.

The opposition in Nepal wanted the Tanakpur project understanding to be treated as a treaty and thus requiring ratification. In October under a new Memorandum of Understanding MoU , India agreed to provide 20 million units of electricity against the previous figure of 10 million units to Nepal[9].

The Supreme Court of Nepal affirmed its verdict on a petition filed on the issue that the MoU between the governments was indeed a treaty but left it to the government of Nepal to decide whether a simple majority or a two-third majority would be required for its ratification[10]. The political turbulence on the issue led to the Prime Minister of Nepal dissolving the parliament and in the fresh polls in none of the party received clear majority to form a government. Under the new government renegotiations were sought on the Tanakpur project.

The Nepalese government demanded increase in quantum of electricity as well as water and construction of a storage high dam at Pancheswar upstream of Tanakpur site on the Mahakali river[11]. The flow of the Mahakali river is through the districts Danchula, Baitadi and Dadeldh in the hills and subsequently the river flows through the Kanchanpur district in the plains. After the river arrives into the plains it turns into a border between both the countries. The river joins the Ghagra river in the Indian territory.

In , Nepal began her Mahakali Irrigation project. Under the Sarda agreement, Nepal was permitted to utilise its share of river water. For the project, World Bank provided the assistance[12].

In both India and Nepal agreed to jointly investigate the possibilities of harnessing the Mahakali river further between the two countries.

It was the fourth major water treaty being considered between the two countries. The treaty concerned the development of Mahakali river for the benefit of both the countries.

The treaty was signed between India and Nepal in The treaty was signed under the back drop of previous treaties which had led to a feeling of mistrust as far as water agreements were concerned and to a great extent shaped the outcome of the Mahakali treaty.

The treaty tried to bring within its fold other treaties and tried to arrive with principle of cost benefit sharing. The treaty provides for the construction of and use of a giant, multipurpose project on the Mahakali river called as the Pancheswar project. In January the Mahakali treaty was ratified in Nepalese parliament by more than two third majorities.

The features of strictures were as under[13] The treaty came into existence in and is called as the Mahakali Integrated Development Treaty.

The treaty is designed by India with the aim of mutual sharing of the river as well as the electricity generated therein. The treaty comprises three projects as under As per the Article 1, Nepal would have the right to a supply of Moreover in case the Sarda barrage became non functional due to any cause, the following would be adhered


Analysis of the Indo – Nepal Mahakali Treaty

Narsimha Rao signed an agreement on the integrated development of the Mahakali river in Delhi. There was also provision for irrigation of vast tract of agricultural land both in Nepal and India, apart from the benefit of flood control. As per the Nepalese constitution, the Mahakali Treaty had to be endorsed by the parliament. Accordingly, when it was introduced, it was passed by over two thirds majority of the parliament members in Moreover, the CPN-UML was fractured when certain factions within the party could not reconcile with the stand of the party in regard to Mahakali Treaty. But the important thing was that the party did not give up its stand to demonstrate its solidarity with other political parties in supporting the Treaty.


Sharda River

The Mahakali Treaty, signed in February between India and Nepal, pertains to sharing water of a river by the same name. Now the Treaty is in force and is in the process of implementation, although there have been ups and downs in its implementation. The Mahakali Treaty basically aims at an integrated development of water resources in the Mahakali River and has been finalized on the basis of equal partnership. The Mahakali originates in Nepal and forms the border between the two countries for a considerable distance.

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