PATNA, OCT 01 – The eastern Indian state of Bihar and Nepal complement each other and are vital for one another’s prosperity, according to high level officials of the Bihar government.
Once seen as a fragile and ‘sick’ state, Bihar has now become the fastest growing state of India and it shares a 1850-km border with Nepal.
“Without Nepal, Bihar cannot meet its requirements, and vice-versa,” the state’s Energy Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav said.
During discussions, local experts and high-level government officials, including Yadav, concurred that apart from the extraordinary relationship India and Nepal share at large, Bihar has more stake in Nepal as a bordering area and due to its larger cross-border interaction.
Though also raising issues of cross-border trade and investment and threats poised by cross-border crimes, the officials mainly focused on the urgency to manage water resources for mutual benefit.
“Bihar is badly hit by power crisis. Proper exploitation of water resources by Nepal will benefit both sides,” Yadav argued. “Bihar will be the biggest market for Nepal’s power sale and this will bring prosperity to both the sides.”
The common waters shared by Nepal and Bihar have not only the potential to usher prosperity, but many a times, they have become the source of suffering for both the sides.
“Efforts to solve water-related problems like flooding have hit a snag due to non-cooperation from the centre and the political instability in Nepal,” Bihar’s Water Resources Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said.
A seemingly farsighted Bihar’s incumbent government is also mulling mutual advantages while addressing the possible food crisis in the region.
“Nepal and Bihar are in the region of the fastest growing economies and the most populous region. Undisputably, food crisis is going to be a major challenge in a few years to come,” Yadav said.
“The proper use of water that emerges from the Himalayas in Nepal will help irrigate land and boost agro-based industries of both the sides and increase productivity, which will eventually help both the sides prosper,” he added. By Mahesh acharya,from ekantipur