Around 1,300 Nepalis stranded in bordering Indian district brought homeHundreds of home-bound Nepali workers were quarantined in the border area after Nepal-India border was sealed amid fear of Covid-19 around a month ago.
Government authorities brought home around 1,300 Nepalis stranded in Dharchula, a bordering Indian town across the Mahakali River, on Thursday.
Hundreds of home-bound Nepali workers were quarantined in the border area after the Nepal-India border was sealed amid fear of Covid-19 around a month ago.
Dipa BK, a resident of Achham district, was one of the 1,300 people who entered Nepal on Thursday after spending 34 days at a quarantine facility in Brahma, India. She had gone to Uttarakhand six months ago to work.
“I decided to return home once the coronavirus pandemic broke out. But the Indian security personnel did not let us past Jauljibi because the border was already sealed,” said BK.
The officials of Nepal and India reached an agreement on Wednesday to allow the stranded Nepalis to return home. Based on the agreement, the authorities allowed the stranded to enter Nepal through Khalanga and Dattu border points. The rescue began at 9am and continued till evening.
According to the District Administration Office in Darchula, people of Baitadi and Bajhang districts were brought through Dattu in Mahakali Municipality while those heading to Darchula and other districts were allowed to enter through Khalanga border point in the district headquarters. The rescued people are from 10 different districts.
According to the District Administration Office in Darchula, 376 people entered through the Khalanga border point while 920 entered from Dattu.
The people’s representatives of Bajhang, Baitadi and other districts reached Darchula to welcome the stranded Nepalis and take them home.
“Those from Bajhang and Baitadi will be sent home today. We are coordinating with the administration of other districts to help the returnees reach their respective hometowns,” said Yadunath Paudel, the chief district officer of Darchula. According to him, the returnees will be quarantined in their own local units.
A large number of government officials, security personnel and health workers were mobilised in the border points to welcome the returnees. Health workers took the temperature of the returnees while security officers kept the record of their name, address and contact number. According to Paudel, all those who returned on Thursday will be quarantined for two weeks in their respective local units and sent home following a rapid test for the coronavirus.
Reports of Nepali citizens stranded in India crossing the Mahakali River to return home started surfacing when the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus was first announced on March 24. A Cabinet meeting on March 29 decided to allow all Nepalis stranded in the Nepal-India border to enter the country for one time on condition that they remain in quarantine for 14 days. But that hasn’t stopped people from trying to cross the mighty river to return home. A month into the lockdown, migrants from various districts of Sudurpaschim and Karnali provinces who were in India for work continue to jump into the river, hoping to see the faces of their loved ones.
According to the District Administration Office, as many as 346 people crossed the Mahakali river during the lockdown period to enter Nepal.