Desperate to return home, people are making arduous journeys on footThe authorities, however, do not have any record of workers who returned to and from Gorkha on foot in recent days.
Kanchhi Gurung, who is in her early forties, and her family reached Gorkha on Friday. It took them two days to reach the district from Pokhara on foot. Now, the family needs to walk for three more days to reach their home in Chumnubri Rural Municipality-3 of the district.
The Gurung family, who used to work as daily wage earners in Pokhara, said they decided to walk home as they lost their work due to the prohibitory orders imposed by the local authority.
“We set off from Pokhara early on Thursday and stayed at Damauli that night. It is very difficult to walk a long distance carrying an infant,” said Sadiksha Gurung, Kanchhi’s daughter-in-law who was holding an infant. Her husband, also a daily wage worker, stayed back in Pokhara.
According to Sadiksha, some drivers stopped their vehicles and gave them a lift but only for a short distance. “We are very tired and hungry. We ate some bread and biscuits that we bought on the way,” she said.
Like the Gurung family, many daily wage earners have started returning to their hometowns on foot after they lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the lockdown last year, hundreds of people who worked in cities had returned to their villages on foot. The same is happening during this lockdown as well.
Dozens of workers who came to Gorkha to work in various development projects have also started leaving for their home districts after the district administration office in Gorkha imposed an indefinite prohibitory order last Wednesday.
A group of five workers, who were involved in the reconstruction of earthquake-ravaged houses in Gorkha Municipality, were found heading for Surkhet on foot on Friday.
“We could not find any vehicles so we decided to walk. We are also carrying blankets with us so we will sleep wherever the night meets us,” said Netra Bahadur Nepal, one of the workers returning home to Surkhet. He said that it could take them around 10 days to walk home to Itram in Surkhet district. “Me and my friends decided to set off on foot as we lost our job after the prohibitory orders were imposed.”
Ram Chandra Paswan of Parsa also plans to walk home after a few weeks. “We will work in the Manakamana area for the next two weeks and then return home,” said Paswan, who was in Manakamana with five of his friends.
The authorities, however, do not have any record of workers who returned to and from Gorkha on foot in recent days.
“We have asked Majhuwa Police Post, which is at the entry point to Gorkha, to inform the District Police Office if people are found walking home. We are planning to coordinate with the respective districts and local units to ease the movement of workers returning homes,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Prakash Dahal.
The District Administration of Gorkha says it has decided to continue construction works even during the lockdown period.
“We haven’t decided to halt the ongoing construction projects. The workers might have left the district fearing Covid-19 infection,” said Harka Roka, an officer at the District Administration Office.