26 J'khand migrant workers stuck in Nepal reach Dumka;five

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infected admitted to hosp, 21 others quarantined (Eds: adding fresh detail) Dumka/Ranchi, May 22 (PTI) Twenty-six migrant workers from Jharkhand, including five testing positive for coronavirus, who were stuck in Nepal due to COVID-triggered lockdown there,have reached their home town Dumka, an official said.

Five infected travelled from Viratnagar on Bihar-Nepal border to Dumka in an ambulance, while the rest made journey back home on the bus sponsored by the state government.

On arrival the five have been admitted to dedicated COVID Care Center of the Phulo Jhano Medical College and Hospital, Dumka, an official said.

All the five migrant workers are 'asymptomatic' and have no complications, Medical Officer, Dumka Sadar Hospital, Dr Javed told PTI.

The remaining 21 workers who were found COVID negative have been lodged at Hijla Quarantine Centre and would undergo RT-PCR on Sunday, an official said.

Meanwhile, one of the migrant workers, Dhananjay Thakur, said they had been in Nepal for the last two-and-a-half months working in a project and had been appealing through video messages for rescue for the past two-three days.

The migrant workers engaged in a project in Nepal by Larsen & Tourbro, through a contractor, had been stranded in the Himalayan country due to lockdown to rein in the coronavirus surge and had been sending SOS messages including video messages to the Jharkhand government for rescue.

They arrived at Viratnagar on Bihar-Nepal border this morning from where they were brought to their native Dumka district by the state government.

Distance between Viratnagar and Dumka is around 245 km.

'In the rapid antigen test, five of the 26 migrant workers were found COVID positive and are being brought in an ambulance. None of them is serious,' Magistrate Rakesh Kumar accompanying them told PTI.

Rest of them were travelling together in a bus and all arrangements were made for their safety, he said, adding, masks and sanitisers have been given to them.

'All of the migrant workers had their lunch which included rice, vegetables and dal among other things,' the official said adding they will have dinner now.

'Our worker brothers have reached India-Nepal border.

Soon they will depart for Dumka. Team of officers and paramedics are at Viratnagar on Bihar-Nepal border to bring them home safely.

'RAT kits, dry ration, oxygen cylinder equipped ambulance have all been sent from Dumka,' said Deputy Commissioner Dumka, Rajeshwari B, who had flagged off a bus from Indoor stadium to Nepal border alongwith officials for the ferrying workers Friday.

A migrant worker coming home thanked Hemant Soren-led government for their rescue.

'We are sitting in a bus sent by the Jharkhand government.

We have been provided food.Apart from Subh Sandesh Foundation, Indian Youth Association, Nepal too helped us besides Chief Minister Hemant Soren, legislator Basant Soren and DC among others.Nepal people also helped us including media persons ...,' Narayan Das, a migrant worker, said in a video message.

The migrant workers hailing from Dumka district had appealed to the government for rescue, saying they were unwell and held up 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 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 Jharkhand on Saturday,' a state government official had 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 were rushed to the Indo-Nepal border to bring back workers.

Approval from Nepal government had 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.

Former MLA and BJP leader Kunal Sarangi among others 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.

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 had 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.' PTI CORR NAM SNS SNS

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