India returnees being sent home directly

Bajura, August 20

Though people returning home from abroad and even outside the district are normally quarantined before being sent home due to COVID-19-related risk, this is not being practised in Bajura’s Budhiganga Municipality.

According to Kalpana Kuwar, a volunteer of Timada in Budhiganga-10, a large number of people returning home from India are moving about freely in their villages, increasing health risks for other villagers.

“Just a week ago, eight people of our village returned home from India.

However, they haven’t been in quarantine either at home or government set up facilities, but are moving about freely in the village, worrying the locals,” Kunwar informed.

The India returnees, however, clarified they had approached the people’s representatives but were simply told to go home. “We went to the ward office and met the ward chairperson but as he told us to go home we simply came back,” said Gagan Dhami of Budhiganga.

Ward 10 Chairperson Darmaraj Jaishi claimed that India returnees went home on the condition that they would stay in home quarantine. “We had allowed those returning to go home as per the municipality’s policy of not keeping people in quarantine, and they had been told to stay in home-quarantine, but now we are hearing that these people are roaming about freely,” said Jaishi.

The municipal authority, in the past two weeks, has sent all returnees home without bothering to keep them in mandatory quarantine.

On his part, Budhiganga Municipality Mayor Dipak Bikram Shah argued that the municipality was obliged to send the returnees home following the directive from the higher-up not to use schools as quarantine shelters. “As there are no places other than schools to set up quarantine, there is no way we could keep them in quarantine, that’s why we had to send them home to stay in self-quarantine,” he said.

Chief District Officer Krishna Gaihre, however, said it was mandatory to keep everyone returning from India in quarantine. “The local bodies have to place those returnees in quarantine.

I informed the police after I got to know about returnees moving about freely in villages,” he said.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 21, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.