Hundreds of Kathmandu returnees stranded at Thankot check post

Kathmandu, April 27

Lack of coordination between government bodies and clear direction from authorities has left hundreds of Kathmanduites, who were sent by the local government in Biratnagar, stranded at Thankot check post.

It is said many of them even started moving into the valley through alternative route — walking through a forest area — after police stopped the buses they were travelling in at Thankot.

Biratnagar Metropolitan City had yesterday sent 160 Kathmanduites, who were stranded in Biratnagar for a long time, in seven buses. The people, including children and elderly, travelled almost 400 kilometres in the buses before they were stopped at Thankot.

A couple of buses that had arrived at the check post at around 8:30am were, however, given permission to enter the valley after stopping them for a few hours.

Thankot Metropolitan Police Circle had allowed them to enter the valley after noting their names and contact addresses. However, a few hours later, Chief District Officer of Kathmandu Janakraj Dahal, along with Senior Superintendent of Police Shyam Gyawali, head of Metropolitan Police Range, Teku, had reached the site and asked the police authority there not to give them permission to enter the valley.

Following this order, people coming from Biratnagar and other places outside Kathmandu district were not given permission to cross Thankot.

Talking to THT, CDO Dahal later said they had not allowed people to enter the valley following the government’s decision. “Allowing them entry into the valley is violation of the lockdown,” he added.

CDO Dahal said they would be sent back to Biratnagar. But he did not say anything about how they would be sent back.

Bhim Parajuli, mayor of Biratnagar Metropolitan City, however said that Kathmandu didn’t have any option but to allow their denizens to enter their hometown. “While, thousands of people are being sent from Kathmandu to other places everyday, why can it not take people in,” Parajuli wondered.

Until late evening, government authorities had no plans to make necessary arrangements for the people stranded at Thankot. SSP Gyawali said, “We are thinking about carrying out health checkup of these people and sending them home. But they will have to stay in home quarantine.”

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 28, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.