The nationwide lockdown in both India and Nepal to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 in the third week of March forced everyone to shelter in place, but it also spreading great misery as migrant workers and their families trekked across Nepal and India to reach their villages.
Besides India’s internal migrants moving back from the cities and Nepalis walking for days to reach their districts, thousands of Nepalis workers in India have been streaming back and Indian workers in Nepal are trying to go home.
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Because the border had been sealed for more than a month, there were many thousands stranded on both sides. Nepal has now opened 20 border points for returnees, and Indian families from Nepal have also been leaving through those checkpoints.
After the Shramik Special train services opened in India to move displaced people such as migrant workers, students, tourists, pilgrims, many Indians citizens are crossing over at the main checkpoints on the Nepal border. The number of Indians going back has also increased after the easing of lockdown regulations in India.
Tej Pokhrel of the Armed Police Force estimates 1,000-1,800 Indians are going home from Nepal every day. Many were working in brick kilns, in the marble industry or construction in Nepal and had been stuck at the border for weeks.