Following an extensive lull by the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) in critiquing the government, the party has emerged to fulfill its duty as an opposition of late.
NC issued a press release yesterday citing the government’s handling of Covid-19 as a total failure.
Demanding that the government improve hygiene and ensure health check-up at quarantine centers, stop conducting RDT and increase PCR tests, and announce relief packages for businesses as well as individuals hit by the ongoing lockdown, NC opposed the government’s decision to send quarantined people home after 14 days without testing them for Covid-19.
NC also did not shy away from terming the government’s decision to send people home without testing as “the height of irresponsibility”.
Serpentine queue of samples at labs awaiting test, rising deaths due to lack of basic amenities at quarantine centers, dearth of testing kits, failure to devise a proper plan to repatriate Nepali workers from abroad were some of the key points that the opposition party put forth while expressing its dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the pandemic.
The party also demanded that the government ensure adequate supply of protective gear for frontline health workers.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has issued a show-cause notice to the government for not paying the repatriation and quarantine expenses of Nepali migrant workers to be rescued from foreign lands.
A single bench of Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana issued the notice on Sunday.
The notice was issued in response to a writ filed at the apex court against the “Order of the Government of Nepal, 2020”, challenging the provision regarding repatriation of Nepali migrant workers from destination countries at their own cost.
The writ was filed by advocates Barun Ghimire, Prabin Subedi, Anurag Devkota, and Binaya Rimal.
The advocates had challenged the Order saying its provision requiring migrant workers to bear the cost of airfare and hotel quarantines were against the Constitution and governing legislation of Nepal.
The provision in the Order (Paragraph 7(c) and 7(d)) regarding the cost of airfare and hotel quarantines for returnees from third countries and the cost of transportation from holding centers to local quarantine centers for returnees from India to be borne by the returnees themselves contradicts with Section 75(2) of the Foreign Employment Act, 2004 on rescue and repatriation of migrant workers in a situation of disaster and distress, and Sec 33(1) on utilizing the foreign employment welfare fund for the purpose of rescue and repatriation.
The writ petition demands that the government bear the cost of rescue and repatriation of the disadvantaged and unemployed workers.
The petition was filed on June 3 against the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers; Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation; Ministry of Health and Population; and Foreign Employment Board Secretariat.