Sun, 28 Feb 2021

Bodies of migrant workers flown back to Nepal

24 Jan 2021, 05:18 GMT+10

Kathmandu [Nepal], January 23 (ANI): After waiting for over two months, families of Nepali migrant workers, who died in Malaysia during the COVID-19 pandemic, received the bodies of their loved ones on Saturday.

After a wait of nearly three months, Nakul BK finally received the body of his younger brother on Saturday. Nakul along with his widowed-sister-in-law took the body back to their hometown for cremation.

"It was the time of Tihar (festival of lights) when I last spoke to him over the phone. I talked with him as he was talking with the sisters at that time, he had promised to call and talk to us again but it never happened. We got the news about his death later and we are here to claim his body," Nakul said.

Besides Nakul's younger brother, bodies of as many as 19 migrant workers who lost their lives in incidents and in various other causes were flown back to Nepal on Saturday through a Nepal Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur. The airlines said that it brought in the bodies of Nepali migrant workers as a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

"As per the Nepali Embassy in Malaysia, there are 37 more bodies of Nepali workers who lost their lives in due course of work. We are making further preparations to bring those bodies back to Nepal. It is part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)," Deputy Spokesperson for the national flag carrier Sulekh Mishra told ANI over the phone.

In an effort to bring the bodies back home, Nepal Airlines had sent its A-330 Aircraft which got stuck in Malaysia for a long time due to the pandemic and other official procedural issues.

As per government figures, there are about 3.82 lakh Nepali workers working legally in Malaysia. Aside from this, the number of illegal workers who went with a tourist visa and worked there without a proper permit also stands high.

Out of those documented in Malaysia, about 75 per cent are employed in the manufacturing sector followed by 21 per cent in service sectors. An estimated one million undocumented migrant workers were said to be working in Malaysia in the first half of 2020, who were later asked to mend their ways.

Some of them got through the process and have continued to work legally in Malaysia while a few lost their lives before getting through it. One of those who died before receiving the status of the documented worker is the father of Milan Magar, who came all the way from Dhankuta to receive the body of the 41-year-old.

"He was working in Malaysia for 10 years. He passed away during his sleep, he returned back from duty and slept, after which he didn't wake up," Milan Magar, who came with his relative to the airport to take back body, told ANI.

Milan said that his father lost his life on December 12 last year, but the family had to wait for nearly a month to receive the body of the deceased.

"It was held on for one-and-a-half months. My father was working there defying the laws, which caused a delay in the completion of procedures, it might have been the reason for the delay in flying back the body. After getting the clearance we are here to receive the body," Milan added.

Enlisted as a least developed country by the United Nations, Nepal, with a population of about 30 million recorded an unemployment rate of 1.47 per cent in December 2020 by the World Bank.

As per the data of the World Bank, Nepal's unemployment rate earlier in 2019 stood at 1.41 per cent and has averaged 1.56 per cent from December 1991 to 2020.

Now laden with the responsibility to look after the family for being the son of the family- the result of the so-called patriarchal mindset, Milan plans to work in Nepal itself and work here but states that it mainly depends on time.

"While staying here in Nepal, I will engage in some works. I have the hope that I will work here but it will depend all on the situation," Milan, an intermediate level student from rural Nepal sounded. (ANI)

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