Nepal | July 11, 2020

Wage earners hit hard due to prolonged lockdown

Ujjwal Satyal
Share Now:

Kathmandu, May 27

Padam Bahadur Thapa, 48 , who was spotted at Kaushaltar area of Bhaktapur at around 3:00pm, was riding a cycle cart to reach a house where he was assigned some work. He was promised Rs 200 for the work.

Thapa is facing a hard time these days as his income has been limited to Rs 200 to Rs 400 on an average.

This amount is not enough to feed his family two meals.

Things were not the same before March 24 (the date from when the nationwide lockdown was imposed).

Earlier, he used to earn Rs 1,800 to 2,000 per day.

“These days, the maximum I can make is Rs 200 to Rs 400, that too if I am lucky enough to get work,” Thapa told THT.

A similar plight is faced by the couple — Rohit and Sarita — who were spotted at Sanothimi area working on an under-construction house. The couple told THT they were compelled to work for survival as they could not continue with their business due to the lockdown. The couple said they had recently opened a momo shop at Pepsicola, but a few days later they had to pull down the shutters due to the lockdown.

“We invested all our saving on the shop, now we don’t have enough money to feed ourselves,” said the couple, adding that they were thus forced to work as construction labourers.

“But, since we are not fit for that work, we are underpaid,” Sarita said.

Thapa and the couple are among thousands of unaccounted daily wage earners employed in the informal sector, who have been hit hard by the over two months of lockdown imposed in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus. Thousands of wage earners have been stranded in city areas due to the lockdown. But, neither the local government nor the federal government has any record of these workers.

The local governments, who had started distributing relief to needy people a few weeks after the lockdown, have now stopped distributing such relief.

“We realised that distributing relief was not the longterm solution to the problem, we thus are planning to introduce some programmes for a long-term solution to the problem created by the lockdown,” said Aanjana Devi Madhikarmi, deputy mayor of the Madhyapur Thimi Municipality.

She said that the municipality was preparing to provide part time jobs to these workers in exchange for food.

Majority of local governments now have started thinking of providing employment to daily wagers. A few days ago, Kathmandu metropolis had introduced a similar programme called ‘food for work’ for the needy people.

Man Dangol, ward chair, said around 350 families had benefited from the programme that started last Saturday. Dangol said needy people were glad to do the assigned work as they felt that they had earned food for themselves rather than depending on others’ mercy for food.

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

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Infection rate high among returnee migrants

RAJBIRAJ, JULY 9 High rate of COVID-19 infection has been seen among people returning from third countries at present, while the infection rate was high among returnees from India two months ago in Saptari. According to District Public Health Office, of the 154 COVID infected persons being tre Read More...

Nepal at high risk of yet another locust invasion, five large swarms expected to fly in

KATHMANDU: Nepal could possibly be swarmed by locusts yet again as a large swarm is seen moving northward from Rajasthan of India, warned Plant Quarantine and Pesticide Management Centre. Five swarms of locusts are currently spaced out at 400 hectors of the area around Sikar of Rajasthan of India Read More...

In Pictures: Health workers at the frontline

  A health worker collects throat swabs for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing of patients at Teku-based Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, in Kathmandu, on Thursday, July 9, 2020. Read More...

Seven killed in landslides at various places in Pokhara

POKHARA: Seven persons were killed in landslides triggered by incessant rain at three places in Pokhara Metropolitan City of Kaski district today. Five persons were killed in Sarangkot, Pokhara-18, and one each at two other places. Landslide debris buried the house belonging to Tanka Bahad Read More...

WHO experts to visit China as part of COVID-19 investigation

BEIJING: Two World Health Organization experts will spend the next two days in the Chinese capital to lay the groundwork for a larger mission to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. One animal health expert and one epidemiologist during their visit to Beijing on Saturday and Sunday w Read More...

30 missing as monsoon-disasters strike Myagdi

POKHARA: As many as 29 persons have gone missing as rain-triggered landslides carried them away in various parts of Myagdi district. Among the missing, 12 are from Dhawalagiri Rural Municipality-6, eight from Malika Rural Munciipality-7, seven from Rikha and one each from Thulogaun and Namruk, in Read More...

Kazakhstan denies Chinese reports of pneumonia deadlier than coronavirus

SHANGHAI: Kazakhstan dismissed as incorrect on Friday a warning by China's embassy for its citizens to guard against an outbreak of pneumonia in the central Asian nation that it described as being more lethal than the coronavirus. In a statement late on Thursday on its official WeChat account, Read More...

Tropical Storm Barry

Storm off Mexico likely to be east Pacific's first hurricane

MEXICO CITY: Tropical Storm Cristina formed Thursday off Mexico's western coast and was forecast to grow into the first hurricane of the eastern Pacific season by Friday morning, though it was unlikely to pose any threat to land. The US National Hurricane Center said the storm had near hurricane- Read More...