18 May 2020
New Delhi: Thousands of migrant Nepalese workers, wanting to return to their homes in Nepal, are stranded at various checkposts on the Indo-Nepal border. At one of the busiest posts in Rupaidiha in Uttar Pradesh's Bahraich, bordering Nepalganj, a trading city of Nepal, around a thousand Nepalese workers have been prevented from entering into Nepal following instructions of Nepalese Home Department.
Nepalese labourers returning from various Indian states have also been stopped at Indo-Nepal border in Pithoragarh (Uttrakhand), sources told IANS.
On the plight of Nepalese labourers who returned from Gujarat on several buses, Superintendent of Police, Bahraich, Vipin Kumar Mishra confirmed to IANS over phone that 848 workers were still stuck at the border.
"These Nepali labourers reached the Rupaidiha border a couple of days back but could not enter Nepal. Efforts are on to request the border authorities to allow them to reach their respective home towns," Mishra, an IPS officer of UP cadre, added.
Sources said that Nepal customs officials revealed to the Indian officials that following instructions from Kathmandu, the entry of Nepalese labourers, working in India has been restricted due to Covid-19 guidelines.
According to the sources, while migrating Nepalese labourers appreciated efforts of Indian authorities for providing shelter and food on the border, they seemed unhappy with the treatment given to them by Nepalese authorities.
"The labourers assured that they were willing to face 14 day quarantine once they reached their hometowns in Nepal. However the Nepalese government, till Monday evening did not give clearance to the customs to allow entry of the stranded Nepalese citizens," said a district administration official, adding that a bus carrying Nepalese workers was allowed entry into Nepal three to four days ago.
Labourers were also stuck at Pithoragarh where migrant labourers are reportedly camping at Jhulaghat, Dharchulas and Baluwakot shelter homes.
While cargo services continued to operate between India and landlocked Nepal, the restriction is only limited to human traffic as India's Himalayan neighbour sealed its border recently to prevent spread of the coronavirus. Nepal has made efforts to contain the virus, and despite its weak medical infrastructure, has reported only 357 cases of coronavirus and 2 deaths till date.