Energy Minister Barsha Man Pun has sent people of Province 5 home against the government policy during the nationwide lockdown.
Around 300 persons working at brickkilns in Sundhupalchowk, Dolakha, Kavre and other districts have been sent home to Rolpa, Salyan, Dang and other districts in Province 5 Sunday evening under leadership of Minister Pun.
Minister Pun even addressed the people before seeing them off and added that his efforts materialized due to hard work of the chief district officer (CDO) of Bhaktapur and police chief. He also urged the bus drivers to take the passengers safely.
"I was in contact with everyone. The government had adopted to enforce the lockdown stringently. There was decision about making arrangements for them wherever they are. We are sending friends who are facing huge difficulties, cannot even work here or stay here," Pun told Setopati.
He added that helping those who are in trouble is the government's policy. "The policy is to remain at the place where one is as far as possible but rescuing those who are in trouble," he explained.
Pun has sent the workers who gathered in Jagati, Bhaktapur walking from different districts reserving nine private buses used for public transportation. Two buses took workers from different brickkilns in Bhaktapur, one in Lalitpur, and the six remaining in Dolakha, Kavre, Sindhupalchowk and other districts.
They had lost their jobs during the lockdown for almost a month. Minister Pun's secretariat has said they have been sent home as they faced problems even for square meals and were planning to walk back to home.
A source at the District Administration Office, Bhaktapur confided with Setopati that it is not possible to make arrangements for people wherever they are now like the government instructed. "Where and how can we keep 300-400 workers?" the source asked. "We cannot make arrangements for food, water, accommodation, toilet and other things."
The source added that people are still walking to Bhaktapur. "Around 300 have arrived by Monday afternoon. We will send them in buses in the evening. It is not possible to keep them here. The disease can spread further if we cannot properly make arrangements to keep all of them here."
Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli on Friday had instructed to stop people from walking back to home during the nationwide lockdown.
PM Oli during the discussion with high level coordination committee to fight COVID-19 pandemic and Cabinet ministers at Baluwatar ordered to make arrangements of food for those facing problems instead.
The committee had proposed two alternatives to PM Oli to address the plight of those walking back to home during the nationwide lockdown
It presented making arrangements for accommodation and food for them wherever they are now as the first option. The committee headed by Deputy PM and Defense Minister Ishwore Pokharel presented the other option of safely ferrying them to their respective district headquarters and then handing them over to the local bodies.