26 J'khand migrant workers stranded in Nepal due to lockdown to return hom Saturday

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(Eds: adding detail) Ranchi, May 21 (PTI) Twenty-six Jharkhand migrant workers, stuck in Nepal due to COVID-induced lockdown there would reach India on Saturday and a bus and an ambulance have been sent to Indo-Nepal border to bring them back, the Jharkhand government said on Friday.

These 26 migrant workers from Jharkhand, engaged in a project in Nepal by Larsen & Tourbro, through a contractor, had sent SOS messages including video messages to the Jharkhand government for rescue.

The migrant workers hailing from Dumka district had appealed to the government for rescue, saying they were unwell and stranded in Sindhupalchok district of Nepal.

Former legislator Kunal Sarangi, JMM Legislator Basant Soren took up their cause and Chief Minister Hemant Soren as well as Indian Embassy in Nepal also intervened.

'A prompt action was initiated for the return of migrant 26 workers stuck in Nepal at the instance of Chief Minister Hemant Soren. The state government took up the issue with the Nepal government.

'As a result of the initiatives, the workers will be returning to Jharkahnd on Saturday,' a state government official said Sarangi said members of Janata Samajwadi Party Nepal helped in locating the workers and also in their return back home.

Chief Minister's office said a bus and an ambulance have been rushed to the Indo-Nepal border to bring back workers.

Dumka district administration has sent a bus to Nepal border for their transportation as the workers had mentioned that they are unable to find any transportation and are stuck in adverse circumstances, the official said.

Approval from Nepal government has already been sought for this, the official added.

On their return, the workers will undergo health check and COVID tests, the official said.

The Jharkhand government has imposed lockdown-like restrictions that mandate compulsory seven-day quarantine for people coming to the state.

The workers will be brought to Dumka's indoor stadium first.

Former legislator and BJP leader Kunal Sarangi who had escalated the matter urging the Ministry of External Affairs besides Indian Embassy in Nepal and others thanked the Indian Embassy in Nepal too for swinging into action.

In a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal the Indian Embassy seeking requisite travel permit said: '...a vehicle has been arranged to ferry the stranded Indian nationals from Kathmandu-Sinduli-Biratnagar.

'The vehicle would return without passengers from Biratnagar to Kathmandu.' Dumka Deputy Commissioner, Rajeshwari B flagged off a bus from Indoor stadium to Nepal border alongwith officials for the ferrying workers.

Dumka legislator Basant Soren expressed hope that the migrant workers would soon return to their respective villages.

When contacted, a Larsen & Toubro spokesperson confirmed that the workers were engaged by the company at a project site through a contractor.

Chief minister Soren had on Thursday retweeted a message by a non-profit body Shubh Sandesh Foundation: 'Doing our best to assist 26 Jharkhand migrants stuck in Nepal. Our friends in Nepal are in touch coordinating food, travel pass, medicine etc for them.' Earlier, former legislator Sarangi tweeted: 'I sincerely request @DrSJaishankar Sir & @IndiaInNepal to get it looked into. These poor migrant labourers from Jharkhand are stuck in Nepal and they are very unwell. Pls rescue them.' Sarangi said the Indian Embassy officials in Nepal had assured him to help the workers and the contractor who engaged the workers has agreed to pay for their transportation.

In the video message, the migrant workers are seen appealing to the Jharkhand government to rescue them while saying that they are stranded in Nepal due to the lockdown and most of them have fallen sick but are not getting any medical attention and food.

In a separate message later, the workers said that they have received a communication from the Shubh Sandesh Foundation that arrangements are being done for their safe return. PTI NAM SNS SNS