KANCHANPUR: Despite the declining rate of the second wave of coronavirus infection, the situation has not yet returned to normal. However, amid the COVID-19 tragedy, the number of people going to India to earn a living is on the rise.
Even though public transport has not become normal in the Sudurpaschim State due to the ban, Nepalis going to India have started queuing at the Gauriphanta checkpoint here.
Dipendra Khadka, who was on his way to Mumbai, India from Gauriphanta, east of Kanchanpur, said, “I survived from COVID-19 but had no choice but to go to Muglan (India) as I was starving to death.”
Khadka, who returned home last April during the coronavirus disaster, said it was unfortunate that there was no employment potential at the local level.
“I wanted to make a living in the village by engaging in agriculture and animal husbandry,” he said. “It was not possible due to poor family situation.”
Despite the crowds returning home from Gaddachauki and Gauriphanta checkpoints in last April, people are now going to different cities of India for work due to shortage of coronavirus. India has been the main employment destination of the Sudurpaschim State for decades.
Deputy Inspector at the Dokebazar-based police post Khadka Jung Shahi said that more than 12,700 Nepalis went to India for employment from the Gauriphanta checkpoint in June alone. “Buses have been arranged at the checkpoints to take the returnees from India to their destinations,” he said.
He said that people are coming here from Gauriphanta checkpoint to Surkhet, Kalikot, Pyuthan, Bardiya and Palpa along with the hilly districts of the far west Nepal.
According to Deputy Inspector of Police Shahi, 24,000 Nepalis had returned home from the checkpoint last May. “Right now, women, children and their families are leaving for India,” he said.
Similarly, Dhana Devi Joshi of Dadeldhura, who was going to Punjab, India for work with her husband on Friday, said that they have been working in India for a long time to support their family. “We are not even in a position to get a job here during coronavirus’s time,” he said. “We are going to India with our family because we are more worried about dying of hunger than corona’s time.”
For some time now, India has also made it easier for Nepali citizens to go to India, so the number of Nepalis going to India on a daily basis is increasing.
According to the statistics on Friday, more than 700 people have entered India from Gauriphanta and 346 from Gaddachauki. However, police said, “As the checkpoint has not been opened, Indians are not allowed to enter Nepal.”