Govt funded homecoming of 20 Covid-19-hit migrant workers but claims it ‘rescued’ 75,000

Nepalis in the United Arab Emirates wait to board their repatriation flight to Nepal, at the Abu Dhabi airport, on Sunday, June 21, 2020.

Kathmandu, September 24

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 across the world earlier this year, nearly 75,000 Nepalis working abroad have returned home.

The government claims it ‘rescued’ 74,703 Covid-19-hit Nepalis since Nepal went on lockdown on March 24. However, interestingly, the government bore costs for the flights of only 20 of them, informs the Foreign Employment Board.

In mid-July, the government issued a new guideline on ‘rescuing’ Nepalis stranded abroad with an announcement to repatriate 10,000 of them free of cost. The government also said it allocated Rs 750 million for that. But, it has not been implemented yet.

“We do not have any problem with spending money. We will issue a cheque in two hours after we get a demand from the concerned embassy via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” the board’s Executive Director Rajan Shrestha says, “But, there has not been expected progress.”

Embassy officials, however, say they have been unable to demand ‘rescue’ from the board due to the difficult criteria set by the government.

Consequently, thousands of Nepali are waiting for flight tickets to return home. There are many who are ready to pay high prices for the tickets, but unable to get them on time.

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