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Indian construction workers coming to Nepal in droves

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- CHANDRA KARKI, TERHATHUM

Jan 21, 2018-

Nepal’s hills and mountains region has been receiving seasonal Indian workers in droves as demand for labour continues to grow due to increasing number of construction projects.

The booming construction works in the highlands has been attracting a large number of Indian workers due to the lack of Nepali workers. Hundreds of young Nepalis are still flocking abroad, taking out huge loans to work overseas.

The locals said that the shortage of labour in construction sector has been luring workers from the southern neighbour.

These workers usually work in road, hydroelectric and other construction projects.

Suman Sahani, an Indian contractor who has been supplying workers in the construction project, said due to severe cold in India’s Himachal Pradesh, many Indian construction workers prefer to work in Nepal. He said that due to the cold wave in Nepal’s Tarai region, they have come to the hill region. 

Worker Satya Dev Sahani said along with him, more than 500 workers from India’s Motihari district have been working in various road projects in Terhathum.

Suresh Tumbahamphe, an engineer of east section of the Mid-hill Highway, said that a sizable number of Indian workers have flocked to work in big projects of the Province No 1.

Many workers from the western Tarai have merged with the Indian groups to work. The Tarai belt has been severely affected by the cold waves but the hill region has relatively mild winter climate.

Road construction works has been rapidly progressing at Terhathum section. The length of Mid-hill Highway is 1,776 km connecting east to west. In Dhankuta, Indian workers are working for Sindhuwa Road project, Basantapur-Taplejung Road project and a bridge project over Tamor River. They are also involved in the construction of the governmental buildings in different rural municipality and headquarters.

Uday Bahadur Karki, site supervisor of Mid-hill Highway Project, said that many skilled and unskilled workers from India have found jobs at different construction projects in Nepal.

Indian workers get a pay of Rs600 to Rs1000 daily — which roughly amounts to Rs18,000 to Rs22,000 monthly salary. Workers are not required to make any investment in projects except their physical labour. Machines and equipments required for the work are supplied by the respective construction company. An increasing number of youths from Terhathum have been leaving for foreign jobs. Each of them have been paying at least Rs150,000 to manpower agencies. However, their jobs are not secured and are forced to work in dire conditions.

The Nepali workers earn a meagre Rs12,000 to Rs15,000 monthly working abroad, said Khagendra Basnet, a youth from Laligurans Municipality who recently returned home from Qatar. According to him, an unskilled worker in Qatar can send up to Rs180,000 each year to their home, which is almost equal to what he has to invest while going abroad.

Here in Terhathum, even without spending a penny, many Indian workers are sending home up to Rs240,000 annually, he said. Many youths are not still attracted towards construction works. The government’s aggressive roads and other mega projects plan could employ many jobless Nepalis. The locals said that the government should encourage Nepali youth to work in their own country. For this, appropriate training should be provided to make them skilled so that the country can retain many young people, they said.

Published: 21-01-2018 08:25

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