Open Border Does Not Mean No Regulation, Says DPM Shrestha

RSS Nepal
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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Narayankaji Shrestha has said that he did not believe in the notion that the borders between Nepal and India should be closed.

Responding to the queries posed by the parliamentarians in today's meeting of the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee under the House of Representatives, DPM Shrestha however reiterated that keeping the borders open does not mean not paying attention towards regulation. "It does not mean that the bordering areas between the two countries go unmonitored. This issue should be resolved at the diplomatic level. We are holding talks on the same."

According to him, the government would not unilaterally take decisions on this matter. It would rather take the matter to the conclusion holding talks with India through diplomatic channel.

Stating that he was serious about concerns raised by parliamentarians on regulation of border area, he said, "An open border does not mean no checking in the border check point. A system could be established at the integrated security check point where Nepal keeps record of those outbound to India and India could keep record of those from Nepal entering India."

The DPM argued that seeking identity from those incoming and outgoing people at the border checkpoint was in the best interest of the both countries to curb cross-border criminal activities.

DPM Shrestha, on a recent brawl between the security personnel and Immigration Office's staffs at the Tribhuvan International Airport, said that the report submitted by the investigation committee was in the phase of implementation.

"There are some underlying reasons behind the incident," he said, adding, "The incident took place against the backdrop of reforms in the immigration sector under the good-governance campaign."

According to him, in lack of physical infrastructures, there was a compulsive situation for the immigration staffers at the Airport to undergo security clearance twice once they come out of their duty station due to some reasons and the recent brawl at the TIA occurred due to non compliance on professional code of conduct.

He also pledged to assign employees after imparting training, designating staffers based on the criteria, developing modern immigration system and cracking down on the 'setting' on visit visa.

Shrestha shared that some middlemen, immigration's employees, security personnel and travel agencies' involved in the racket of sending people for foreign employment on visit visa were arrested.

On a different note, he expressed his commitment to bring those involved in the fake Bhutanese refugees scam and other cases of irregularities under the ambit of investigation He, however, admitted that none alleged could be brought to book until found guilty on the basis of evidences.

Similarly, Dinesh Kumar Bhattarai, Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, clarified that the government of Nepal had given shelter to the Bhutanese refugees on the humanitarian ground.

Bhattarai said, "Correspondence has been made to open the traditional border transits. Identity card has been issued by the Chief District Officers for movement across the borders. Suggestions have been received on the matters relating to security concerns."

The members of the committee suggested that the borders between Nepal and India should be regulated while keeping it open, as they said, could pose a challenge to national security, according to him.

As for the brawl in the TIA, they emphasized that the concerned authorities should be serious about preventing such 'shameful' incident from taking place again.
They suggested the government to consider waiver on the visa fee for the non-resident Nepalis.

Members in the meeting drew the attention of the government towards opening Kakadvitta border point fully that was closed during COVID-19 pandemic.

They also shed light on the hassles and troubles facing the Nepalis coming home at the immigration at the Airport and called for facilitating them rather than troubling them.

They cited that the staffers at the airport had favored some while troubled some others in cahoot with each others. Pressing for tight security check on papers of those outbound passengers especially those going for further studies for foreign employment, they called for facilitating them on other aspects rather than troubling them.

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