High Level Committee decides to rescue Nepalis stranded abroad

29 May 2020, Kathmandu

The government has decided to rescue Nepalis stranded in foreign countries except in India through the air route.

A meeting of High Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 held on Friday to repatriate Nepalis who are in an urgency to return, said Secretary at the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers Narayan Prasad Bidari.

The committee has officially designated various checkpoints in the country to bring Nepali citizens from India.

He said that priority will be given to a person who has failed to come to Nepal due to the lockdown despite receiving amnesty and who had gone to foreign countries on various visas but had to come to perform funeral rites.

He said that those who have lost their jobs after the expiration of their labor contracts, who are ill due to other than coronavirus, pregnant women, children, senior citizens and people with disabilities will be repatriated.

Similarly, government employees who are in abroad for training or study will be evacuated.

The government will rescue them from the Nepal Airlines Corporation or other airlines in Nepal after receiving details from all the countries.

According to Secretary Bidari, after identifying the details received, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will give the list to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. The Ministry of Tourism will bring them to Nepal by arranging air flights.

Meanwhile, the committee has officially designated 20 various checkpoints in the country to bring Nepali citizens from India.

The 20 checkpoints designated by the government are Pashupatinagar (Ilam), Kakarvitta (Jhapa), Rani (Morang), Kunauli (Saptari), Thadi (Siraha), Madar (Siraha), Vittamod (Mahottari) and Mangalwa (Sarlahi).

Similarly, Gaur (Rautahat), Birgunj (Parsa), Maheshpur (Bara), Belahiya Rupandehi), Taulihawa (Kapilvastu), Krishnanagar (Kapilvastu), Jamunaha (Banke), Surajpur (Bardiya), Gauriphanta (Kailali), Gaddachauki (Kanchanpur), Jhulaghat (Baitadi) and Darchula.

It should be noted that the government has allocated the ‘necessary’ budget to repatriate Nepalis stranded abroad due to coronavirus lockdown.

Presenting the budget for the coming Fiscal Year 2020/21 in the joint sitting of the Federal Parliament on Thursday, Finance Minister Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada had informed that the budget has been allocated for the repatriation of Nepalis who are facing serious health risks abroad and rendered jobless among other issues.

A large number of Nepalis living abroad want to return home. Up to 2.6 million Nepali migrants are estimated to be in the Gulf, Malaysia and Korea and many have lost their jobs due to coronavirus lockdowns in those countries and are willing to return.

Even after various countries including India have started rescuing their citizens, the government is being criticized from all quarters as Nepali citizens are still stranded. Many Nepalis have been stranded along the Nepal-India border.

Earlier, the Supreme Court (SC) had issued an interim order to the government to evacuate Nepalis who have been rendered jobless and having a hard time meeting daily needs in foreign countries.

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