Gangtok, June 6: Earlier the Nepal Government had requested the Government of India for the evacuation and transport of their citizens from the various states of India. Following this request, the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, on June 5, permitted this request. Fulfilling this permission, Sikkim Government on the morning of June 6, used 6 SNT Buses for the ferrying of around 235 Nepalis citizens who were granted passes by the State government.

This act was executed by the DC East IAS Raj Yadav with the help from the State Evacuation Cell. The 235 Nepali citizens are the first batch of Nepalese returnees from Sikkim and were transported up to Panitanki in West Bengal, where the Nepal administration will then receive their stranded returnees and make further arrangements for them.

While speaking to Sikkim Chronicle, some said that they had stranded in Sikkim since the onset of the lockdown – March 25 and had been trying to return to Nepal for almost the last 70 days, but weren’t able to because of the pandemic and the lockdown guidelines implemented because of it. While another passenger said that though the Sikkim Administration had granted them permission to go up till Rongpo border and then leave, they weren’t able to go home, because the rule at that time was that they had to return to Nepal through West Bengal, but the Bengal Government hadn’t permitted this. DC East IAS Raj Yadav has assured that the State government will continue issuing passes to stranded Nepalese in Sikkim, so they also can return home. Many of these returnees had also been contacting Sikkim Chronicle asking for updates on their evacuation.

While speaking to SC, the returnees seemed excited and elated at the prospect of returning home, but they’ve also expressed their heartiest gratitude to the state and the government for keeping them safe in the extended period. Even though in Sikkim, most returnees said that they didn’t face any such problems, the Elvis Presley song perfectly captures their sentiment – “Home is where the heart is,” and who could better relate to this statement than the Sikkimese returnees. 

Most of the Nepalese citizens residing in Sikkim, come to the state in the prospect of job opportunities, medial treatments and tourism among other reasons.

The Nepal Government recently issued an order that from now on all Indian citizens will have to acquire a work permit to continue working and living in Nepal. This news came after the dispute between India and Nepal because of Nepal unveiling their new map, which showed Uttarakhand’s Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh areas as theirs.

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