Nepalis stranded at India border return

Nepali workers entering the border from India on Saturday. Photos: MANORANJAN SHARMA

After being stuck for three weeks, on no-man’s land between India and Nepal some Nepalis are finally being allowed to go back to their home villages.

Among them were 325 Nepali workers who had trekked across India to reach the border, only to find that their own country was not allowing them in. They had been quarantined in the Nautanwa district of India’s Uttar Pradesh state.

Rupandehi District Police Office reported that another 100 had been allowed to come to Nepal from the Sunauli checkpoint on Friday, and others from the Belahiya border post. 

Nepali families from the Arghakhanchi district stranded in India for 24 days being allowed into Nepal.

On hand to receive some of the Nepali workers were local government officials and mayors from their districts who had hired buses to ferry them home from the border. Chairman of Malarani municipality in Arghakhanchi district, Balkrishna Acharya, was among those who was at the border over the weekend to receive 102 from his village who had been working in India, and had lost their jobs because of the lockdown there.

Those entering into the country through Belahiya are being checked for  coronavirus through Rapid Diagnostic Tests, and those tested positive will have to undergo a further PCR check.

“If confirmed they will be quarantined in Rupandehi isolation centres,” said Kedarnath Shah, of the district health office. Member of the Rupandehi state assembly said he hopes to return all Nepalis quarantined across the border in India’s Nautanwa district by Monday. 

Meanwhile, there is concern that the quarantine facilities do not meet minimum living conditions, and people in isolation are being exposed to non-COVID-19 diseases while confined to their quarters.

Some quarantined people have fallen sick due to mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue, and there is a fear that Nepal may have multiple epidemics in its hands as the summer season sets in.

There are 14,731 people in mandatory quarantine in isolation centres in various parts of the country. Most are people who have entered from India, or those who have come in contact with them. Nearly all have so far tested negative.