Nepal | July 05, 2020

People continue entering valley defying lockdown

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, May 6

People continue to enter Kathmandu valley through various entry points despite efforts to enforce the lockdown imposed by the government to control the spread of COVID-19.

The number of people leaving the valley for their hometown is still higher than those entering. ‘Hundreds of people are entering the valley every day without any ‘emergency situation’. This has created a sense of panic among people inside the valley which has so far officially seen around five COVID-19 cases.

Locals of Yangal in Basantapur area were alerted yesterday after some people from ‘Tarai districts’ came in their private vehicles and stayed at the homes of their relatives at Yangal.

Locals then informed the local government, who later urged them to stay in quarantine after measuring their body temperature.

This action of locals prompted Hariprabha Khadgi, deputy mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, to inspect the valley’s major entry point at Nagdhunga from where an estimated 90 per cent of vehicles enter the valley.

During the deputy mayor’s visit, the police check post returned a few vehicles transporting essential goods and construction materials as they were transporting more than five people. Local leaders of the area, however, said the checking was just a formality and was not at all effective.

Mayor of Chandragiri Municipality Ghanashyam Giri said, “Such vehicles drop passengers around some corner before the check post and again re-route towards Kathmandu getting easy access to the valley.” He added that some people were taking different routes through the jungle to enter the valley.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Ghanashyam Shrestha, head of Metropolitan Police Circle, Thankot, said they had returned more than 150 vehicles in the past two days to wherever they were coming from. He said such vehicles were carrying more people than allowed and did not have any information regarding such people re-entering the valley through any path.

Activist Ganapati Lal Shrestha, who had gone for inspection said that he found people were entering Kathmandu for different reasons.

He said many skilled manpower, including construction workers, had returned to the valley as many construction programmes were being launched.

Shrestha also said many under-privileged people from outside Kathmandu were also coming here in the hope of getting free food offered by the government and local levels. “Some other people have entered the valley finding it comparatively safer than their hometowns,” Shrestha said.

Kathmandu Chief District Officer Janakraj Dahal, along with Senior Superintendent of Police Bhim Prasad Dhakal, head of Metropolitan Traffic Police Division today visited different entry points such as Mudkhu, Nagdhunga, Saakhu, Jagati and Bhimdhunga.

They later issuing a press release claiming that they did not find any unwanted people crossing the border points during their checking.

But, a couple of mayors from the area, talking to THT, said people had been continuously entering the valley through various routes, some of them even walking during night time.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 7, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.


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