EDITORIAL: Facilitate migrants

The government should be constantly informed about plights of Nepali workers and ensure their safety in Qatar

Qatar is the favored destination for most Nepali migrant workers. It was feared that after the cutting off of diplomatic ties of Qatar with its neigbours Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, the Maldives and Yemen and closing of the air space of Qatar since June would have an adverse impact on the migrant Nepali workers in Qarter. However, this is not the case and has not affected the Nepali workers. Previously it was believed that young migrants from countries like Nepal would lose their job but apparently this has not happened. Despite the standoff of Qatar with its neighbouring countries the labour market there has not been affected as a result of which Qatar continues to be the most popular for Nepali migrant workers. International companies involved in the construction works for the FIFA World Cup 2022 to be hosted by Qatar seek migrants coming from countries like Nepal.

The number of migrant Nepali workers declined slightly in this fiscal year as compared to last year. In the last fiscal year as many as 125,892 Nepali migrants had chosen to work in Qatar. This is a hefty 31.6 per cent of the total Nepali migrants who sought jobs in the international market making Qatar the most popular destination for them as compared to 129,038 Nepali migrant workers who were employed there and who constituted 30.8 per cent of the total migrants. Saudi Arabia used to be the favorite destination for Nepali migrants but it has now slipped to the third position. It is expected that the demand for Nepali migrants will continue to grow as Qatar is hosting the World Cup in 2022.

However, we cannot afford to be complacent because the Nepali migrant workers usually have to work in risky construction sites which have taken the lives of many of them. In order to facilitate those Nepalese who opt for Qatar as their destination of choice they should preferably be given reorientation courses in the Nepali language. Such classes are necessary as migrants from countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the Philippines are given them in their native languages. Moreover, it is highly desirable to impart some skills to the Nepali migrants so that they can work as semi-skilled and even skilled labour which pay more compared to the unskilled labourers. Given that the country’s economy is being bolstered by the remittances from the migrants everything possible should be made to facilitate them so that they do not suffer as many of them are doing. After the turmoil in the Gulf countries, the Nepal Government had sent a team of officials to Qatar to see to how the Nepali migrant workers were faring in the country. They have concluded that this strife would not be adversely affecting the Nepalese working there. More importantly, the team says that the Nepalese there are safe. The government should be constantly informed about the plight of Nepalese workers and ensure their safety in Qatar. This is necessary especially as Qatar has become the major destination of Nepali migrant workers. As long as the country continues to depend on remittances it is the job the government to ensure the safety and well-being of Nepali migrant workers as there are many complaints of them being abused and exploited and even cheated.

Saving tigers

Nepal and India are all set to share data on Royal Bengal tigers that roam across the borders. Both the countries will develop a database on the endangered wild cats and exchange photographs by the end of 2018. The database will also be helpful to determine the tiger range countries, including Nepal, India and Bangladesh. In order to develop the tiger database both the countries will be using tiger census by applying camera trapping in all tiger habitats. Nepal expressed commitment to double the tiger population by 2022 from the current 121 to 250.

However, it is challenging to meet the target set by Nepal during the St. Petersburg Declaration on tiger conservation in 2010. Chitwan and Bardiya national parks have a large number of tigers followed by Sukla Phanta Reserve. Tiger population has been declining every year due to illegal poaching and habitat loss. It is estimated that there are around 3,200 tigers all over the world roaming in wilderness. Fifteen countries where tigers are found had committed in 2013 to launch an innovative conservation effort to increase the tiger population.