Shimla, Mar 21: Himachal Pradesh Government on Friday further tighten the restriction on the arrival of outsiders in state imposing regulation on the entry of migrants from Nepal nationals who mostly come in search of work round the year.
This restriction likely to be tightened more with detection of two fresh cases in the state. Last week, following reports of a positive COVID-19 case surfacing in Nepal, some MLAs had expressed concern in the assembly on the large number of Nepalis entering the state without being adequately monitored. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had said that the two countries are connected by road which makes movement difficult to monitor as compared to air travel.
However, the lone Nepali who tested positive has recovered and no more cases of the disease have been reported from Nepal so far, CM added. Agriculture and Minister of tribal affairs Dr Ram Lal Markanda said that only four Nepali nationals, all of whom had been in the state for some time, have entered Lahaul and Spiti this month. Entry of Nepali national was allowed with restriction as around ten lakh were secreened on various borders and government now imposed restriction till further orders.
The Himachal Road Transport Corporation has also shortened the route of the bus from Shimla to Tanakpur near the Indo-Nepal border in Uttarakhand till Haridwar. Besides a complete ban on the entry of tourists in the state, state and district-level authorities have restricted the entry of Nepali nationals, who are either being denied entry or screened for symptoms and discouraged to enter the state.
In Chamba's Pangi valley, Nepali nationals are not being allowed to enter, said Dharwas panchayat member Veer Singh Rana. A large number of Nepalis rely on the bus to arrive in the state. The developments have caused “uncertainty” among farmers of the state, particularly apple growers, who are heavily dependent on migratory labourers for manual farm work. “Around 80 per cent of apple farm activity is carried out by Nepali migrants. This is because they are hardy workers and proficient in digging, grass-cutting, loading of crates, and other farm work. The flow of migrants continues round the year though the peak season starts from June during the harvest season,” said Mr Govind Chatranta who is prominent Apple grower said. He added that four Nepali nationals who had planned to come to his farm this month have had to cancel their visit. “Nepalis mainly use two entry points in Uttarakhand to come to Himachal, one of which has been closed” he said. (UNI)