GO TO SOURCE
KATHMANDU, NEPAL, Aug 21, 2001: India has assured Nepal that it will not build a dam that could flood the birthplace of the Buddha, Nepalese officials said on Sunday. Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, who arrived in the Nepalese capital on Friday seeking closer trade ties, wants to soothe anger in this Himalayan nation over the dam that Nepal says could flood Lumbini. The Buddha was born there more than 26 centuries ago as Prince Siddhartha. UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural arm, has declared Lumbini as a World Heritage site. India had started building the Rassiyal-Khurda-Lautan dam across the Danav River, just 200 meters from the Nepal-India border, south of Lumbini, 270 km south-west of Kathmandu. The dam is meant to block and manage the flow of river water, mainly for irrigation, on the Indian side of the border. Construction of the dam, which started about four months ago, stopped this month after protests by Nepal.