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Nepali migrant workers start returning to India amid COVID-19 threat in lack of job at home



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By Bhavani Ayer, Kailali, Aug. 4: As a result of global COVID-19 pandemic, Nepal has as many other countries implemented the lockdown measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nepali returnees from India have now started going back to India because of the lack of food and employment at home despite the risk of contraction of the virus.

Dinesh Thakhulla, an official at the Citizen Help Desk at Trinagar border in Dhangadhi, Kailali, said, “In recent times, more than 100 migrant workers are returning to India for work and more than 200 Nepali migrant workers are coming back to Nepal a day.” 

As many as 1,590 people have so far crossed the border in this month of Saun, since mid-July, out of which 1,400 people are the Nepalis. Most of those who are returning to India are Nepali migrant workers, said Thakhulla.

The police deployed at Trinagar post said that the migrant workers go to Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, and Lucknow through the Gaurifanta border point. As the number of Nepalis going back to India has increased, Indian authorities at Indian border side has made it compulsory to show the ration card to enter India.

“It’s easier to fight the virus than hunger. So I am going to work in India as a migrant worker,” said Kripa Ram Niraula, 50, a resident of Punarbas Municipality- 6, Kanchanpur, who has been a migrant worker in India for 22 years. Niraula made the comment while entering India through the Ghaurifanta border point.

Another migrant worker, Kemraj Chaudhary of Bardagoriya, Kailali, who has been working in India for the last 6 years, said, "If I do not go to India for earning, then my family of four will die from hunger.” He is more worried about the unemployment than getting infected with the virus.

Raj Kumar Chaudhary of Ghoda Ghodi Municipality-3, who has been working in India for the last 15 years, said, "I am returning to India because of the lack of the job opportunities here in home country, Nepal.