Gandaki steps up monitoring at projects employing Chinese workers

Published On: March 11, 2020 09:45 AM NPT By: Santosh Pokharel

POKHARA, March 11: Health officials of Gandaki Province have said that they have upped monitoring in settlements near project sites where Chinese nationals are working to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

They said they were forced to intensify surveillance in such areas following complaints from locals who fear coronavirus could spread from camps where Chinese nationals are staying.
Binod Bindu Sharma, director of Gandaki Province Health Directorate, said they have started monitoring health conditions of Chinese workers involved in Pokhara Regional International Airport, Nyadi Hydropower Project, Hongshi Cement Industry and Narayanghat-Butwal Road Expansion projects.

“We need to be extra careful as hundreds of Chinese nationals are working in many development projects," he said.

According to Sharma, 230 Chinese nationals are working at the site of Pokhara Regional International Airport alone. Their body temperature is measured every day before they leave for their workplace. "We have come to know that the workers, who just returned from China, are allowed to work at the project site only after 14-day quarantine," he said. "So, there is nothing to worry about."

Nyadi Hydropower Project in Lamjung currently has 38 Chinese workers. As they traveled to Lamjung without a health check up right after landing at Tribhuvan International Airport, locals are terrified. But the project office has directed them to not meeting locals and take rest at the campsite for few days before returning to work.

"We do not have the exact number of Chinese nationals working at Hongshi Cement Industry of Nawalpur and Narayanghat-Butwal Road Expansion Project. But we have formed a special team to collect details of Chinese workers," added Sharma.

“It is the responsibility of the provincial government to adopt various safety measures in this situation. That is why we have upped the monitoring of Chinese nationals employed by different industries and development projects,” he said.

Besides, locals have expressed concern over entry of Indian tourists to Pokhara from different land routes without any health check up. "It is true that we have not put in place any mechanism to screen Indian nationals entering Pokhara from different land routes," Sharma said. "We have realized the need for that as coronavirus cases have been confirmed in different Indian cities."

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