After its recent move to include the map showing Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani areas of Pithoragarh in its school textbooks as well as on coins, the Nepalese government is now planning to conduct a census in these areas which it has been claiming as its own.
Nepal conducts a census every 10 years and its next census exercise is due in May next year. The exercise, by the country’s National Planning Commission and its Central Bureau of Statistics, involves a nationwide door-to-door survey.
Sources familiar with the development told TOI that “hawkish elements” of the Nepalese political leadership want to get the census done in the villages comprising the Limpyidhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh areas, and had also drafted a questionnaire for the exercise. They added that “Nepal is also looking at other options for taking the census if a door-to-door survey is not possible.”
Meanwhile, villagers in the area said “there is no question” of participating in any census exercise conducted by Nepal. “We are citizens of India. Why should we participate in a census conducted by the Nepalese government?” said Mahendra Budhiyal, a resident of Budhi village.
Officials in the district administration of Pithoragarh said that they were not aware of any such moves by the Nepalese government. “Even if any such a plan was there, it can never materialise as no Nepalese team will be allowed to enter the area for such an exercise,” said a district administration official.