Migrant workers from Nepal are stuck at the Indo-Nepal border at Uttarakhand
Thousands of migrant workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh remain stranded at the Raxaul-Birgunj border between India and Nepal due to the lockdown that has been imposed in both countries amid the rising cases of COVID-19.
The workers, who were attempting to return home, have been held up at the no man's land for 30 hours after Indian authorities stopped them from entering the country as a preventive measure.
On March 16, India sealed its porous border with Nepal, banned the entry of foreign nationals into Bihar and suspended bus services for a fortnight to stem the spread of the highly contagious infection.
Health officials said the action was taken after a symptomatic case was detected at one of the 49 transit points along the border and one case of coronavirus was confirmed in Nepal. Health officials said the districts bordering Nepal are under special focus for stringent surveillance at the transit points.
Meanwhile, after a Cabinet meeting, the Nepal government decided on Sunday to extend its national lockdown by another week till April 7 midnight.
Due to the lockdown in Nepal, the migrant workers were facing difficulty in receiving food supplies. As a result, they started walking to cross the border on foot.
The District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police in Bihar's Motihari are taking stock of the situation.
The District Magistrate said that the border is sealed and the safety of the people is more important at this time. "The Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu are in talks with the Nepali authorities to facilitate the people at the border," he said.
In a similar circumstance, thousands of Nepalese migrant workers are also stranded at the Indo-Nepal border town of Dharchula in Uttarakhand, following the lockdown.
The Central government has ordered all states to seal borders and banned the movement of people.
India has recorded over 1,000 active COVID-19 positive cases as on Monday night.