Workers return home after losing jobs in IndiaAround 1,000 people are entering Nepal through the Trinagar border point in Kailali on a daily basis
Ankit BK, a resident of Bajura district, entered Nepal on Thursday through the Trinagar border point of Kailali district. BK decided to return home with his wife and two children after he lost his job in the Indian state of Rajasthan due to the sudden spike in Covid-19 cases.
“I used to work as a driver in a corporate office in Rajasthan. I called my wife and children there just three months ago but I recently lost my job due to the coronavirus,” said Ankit. “We are returning home as we could not survive in India without a job.”
Ankit, however, plans to return to India after leaving his wife and children in his village.
“I, along with many of my neighbours, had returned home during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in fear of infection. But I had to go back to India again during the second wave as I could not feed my family by staying home,” said Ankit. “I got the new job after struggling for a few weeks. Everything was going well. But the third wave made me unemployed.”
Ankit is just a case in point. Thousands of migrant workers have started returning home through various border points in Sudurpaschim Province after losing their jobs due to surging omicron cases in India.
Dal Bahadur BK of Kolti in Bajura district, who used to work in Pune of India, also faces a similar ordeal.
“I had no alternative but to return home after I lost my job in India due to the pandemic,” he said.
The major border points in the province have been crowded with migrant workers since the past few days.
“There is a huge flow of new entrants in the border points now as India sees a rising number of Omicron cases,” said Bhupendra Khatri, a security officer deployed at the border security in Trinagar border point.
According to him, around 1,000 people enter Nepal through the border point on a daily basis. “Most of the entrants say they returned after losing their jobs due to Covid-19. A few others returned home to celebrate Maghi festivals with families,” said Khatri.
The migrant workers complain that they were forced to leave for home after factories were closed and shutters were pulled down in various towns and cities of India in light of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We will return to India once the situation gets under control,” said Birkhe Nepali of Kailali who recently returned home from India.
Health workers have expressed their concerns that the surging number of people entering Nepal through various border points might lead to a virus outbreak in the villages and towns. The health workers at the health desk set up at Trinagar border point carried out antigen testing of 517 entrants on Saturday. Among them, 117 tested positive for Covid-19.
“The infected people are sent to an isolation centre set up by Dhangadhi Sub-metropolis at Beli. But around three to four people who test positive during the antigen testing run away by hoodwinking the security personnel and the health workers at the border point each day,” said Lalit Singh Dhami, chief at the District Health Office in Kailali.
According to him, the health workers and the security personnel deployed in the border points are facing a challenge in containing the inflow of patients.
“Some returnees refuse to be tested at the border point. Some don’t want to stay in isolation. There is also a shortage of health workers and security personnel to handle the huge flow of migrant workers,” said Dhami. He urged all people to be responsible and follow health security protocol to contain the outbreak of Covid-19.