Large number of people from Sudurpaschim Province are leaving for India for jobs after DashainPeople living in rural regions of Sudurpaschim have no option but to go to Indian cities for jobs as they have no job opportunities at home.
Kisan BK was on his way to Maharashtra in India after celebrating Dashain at his family home at Purbi Chauki Gaira village in Doti district on Thursday.
BK, who is in his early 40’s, has been working as a security guard in India for the last 15 years. He returns home every year in September but this year, he came back home in June because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There’s nothing left to do in the village. The produce in my field will last us only for another three months,” he said. “So I’m going back to my old job in India.”
A sole breadwinner of his family, BK has the responsibility to look after his 11-member family. “My entire family relies on my income so I can’t stay back even if I wanted to,” he said.
BK was among hundreds of Nepalis queuing up at Trinagar Gauriphanta border point in Dhangadhi as they made their passage to India for jobs.
There were 17 others from his village, all of them travelling to India for jobs. They had set off from their village on Wednesday.
Also among the people heading to India was Tirtharaj Joshi of Mohanyal, Kailali, and Prakash Dhami of Parigaun, Dadeldhura. They too had returned to Nepal early this year due to the pandemic, and like BK were compelled to return to India with no job prospect at the villages.
“My family can only observe Tihar festival if I manage to send some money from India. I don’t have a job waiting for me there. I’ll have to go there and look for one,” Dhami said.
Some India-bound migrant workers expressed their anger against the government for failing them.
Kamal Saud, a former Maoist combatant from Sanfebagar in Achham district, said people like him have no option but to go to India and other countries for employment, as the government has failed to provide them job opportunities in the country.
“The problem of poverty and unemployment are getting worse. The government does not have any plans to make the country prosperous. The leaders, who had assured peace and prosperity with their revolutionary remarks, forgot about the very people that helped them reach the corridors of power,” said Saud.
In the first week of September, the Sudurpaschim provincial government had issued a notice directing people not to go to India in search of jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Agriculture had launched agriculture-based programmes to provide jobs to returnees and to stop migration to third countries in search of jobs.
In the current fiscal year, the Sudurpaschim government has allocated Rs 5 billion on projects and programmes to create employment opportunities to returnees from India and overseas.
The government has also set aside a budget for skill training programmes and plans to provide loans to farmers without interest, according to Minister for Internal Affairs and Law Jhapat Bohara.
However, these schemes have done little to stop people from leaving their villages. Most of the people headed to India say they have no knowledge of the government programmes.
According to Shankar Bogati, assistant sub-Inspector at the Border Check Post of the Armed Police Force in Gauriphanta, a total of 1,787 people left for India on Thursday alone; 1,600 people had crossed the border on Wednesday.
Gyanas Thapa of Lamku Rajpur in Kailali plans to go to Pune, India, with his family. Six other fellow villagers are also going to India with him. “We are dependent on India for our livelihood. We cannot survive without going to India. We don’t have enough land to grow crops to sustain or any employment opportunities in the village,” said Thapa. “We are not aware of government plans or programmes.”