Hundreds of Migrant Workers Left Stranded at the Kakadvitta Border as India Refuses Entry

The workers usually leave India for Nepal in October and come back home around April. This time, their return has been hampered by the ongoing pandemic.

The Kakadvitta-Panitanki border is one of the crossing points between India and Nepal. Due to lack of quarantine facilities, the Indian police has requested the government of West Bengal not to let the workers go straight home. The government, however, has said otherwise. The West Bengal government was asked to allow the migrants passage over a month ago.

Many of the workers are left in a dilemma. Should they return, or should they wait for the border to open? Sunita Thakur (23), from West Bengal, who walked for two days to reach the border, with her five-year-old son, talked of uncertainty and sleeping out in the open. Rubi Shah (26) heard of the trains the Indian government was running and was glad for a chance to go back home. She too is now stuck at the border and says if Nepalese workers are coming back by the thousands, we should also be able to go home. Rubi’s factory has stopped paying salaries after the lockdown in Nepal was extended. She doesn’t know how long it will be till the border opens, neither does she know how or till when will she have to, or be able to stay, barely getting meals and water. 

Although a local leader has arranged for meals for the workers, Nepalese authorities say that meals might be arranged, and arranging beds is next to impossible.

Approximately half of those stranded are women and children. Some Indians have been brought back home from Nepal through the Eastern border pass, however, the West Bengal government restricted its border, making matters more complicated, said Mahindra Shah, Chairman of the Brick Kiln Association


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