COVID-19: Around 800 Nepali workers stranded in Dharchula, Uttarakhand

The workers want to enter Nepal but the Nepalese government has declared a complete lockdown

Published: Tuesday 31 March 2020

Migrant labourers returning to Nepal have been gathering at Dharchula border in Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district. Many Nepali citizens cross over to India for employment.

Their numbers have swelled from 200 to 800 in the last two days. But the Nepalese Government has declared a complete lockdown. This has left the migrants stranded on the Indian side. Many of them are without food and shelter since the last two days. Frustrated, some of them pelted stones and raised slogans against their government.

Indian officers tried to contact Nepalese authorities to open the border gates but Nepalese officers refused the request. They said nobody can enter Nepal before April 7, 2020. Sensing the gravity of the situation local authorities on the Indian side started arranging food and shelter for the stranded Nepali citizens.

Dharchula Subdivisional Magistrate Anil Kumar Shukla told Down To Earth, “Social distancing is being maintained and the workers have also been screened.” Local non-profits are also helping them with supplies of ration and medicines.

Currently, no one is sick or has any symptoms of coronavirus. The workers have been divided into three groups and have been sheltered at three different locations in and around Dharchula.

A local resident, Ravish Patiyal, told Down To Earth, “These Nepali migrant workers have come here from different parts of Uttarakhand, Because of the lock down, their contractors gave them some money asked them to leave. There are many highways being built in Uttarakhand, a majority of them work in those projects.”  

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