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300 families of Uttarakhand flood victims denied compensation

Publication Date : 15-05-2014

 

Families of around 300 Nepali migrants, who were killed or had gone missing in floods and landslides in Uttarakhand in India 10 months ago, have been deprived of compensation due to lack of victim’s identification.

According to Nepali Embassy in New Delhi , out of more than 500 Nepalis, who were reported to have been killed or missing in the disaster, only 200 have been documented.

Those victims, whose names have not been documented officially or who did not possess their identity cards during the disaster, remain unreported and their families deprived of compensation.

Concerned stakeholders said that the problem will not resolve until a provision is introduced to keep record of citizens of both Nepal and India crossing the border.

Gopal Thapa, secretary of the Prawasi Nepali Sangh in India, said that citizens of both the countries should be provided with identity cards and their names should be registered at the concerned office before they cross the border. “Many Nepali migrants are facing various difficulties due to the lack of official identity cards,” Thapa said. For instance, Nepali migrants cannot open bank accounts on the basis of Nepali passports and citizenship certificates in India.

Anita Abraham, a legal practitioner in India, said that giving no recognition to Nepali citizenship certificates is against the human rights and Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty. She added only Nepal recognises Indian citizenship certificates.

At present, only those Nepali migrants possessing identity cards provided by the embassy can receive services like opening bank accounts in India. Prof SD Muni, a Nepal expert, said that Nepali migrants can move the court as per the treaty, if they are denied from opening bank accounts in India.

Although Nepal and India had agreed to keep records of citizens of both the countries crossing the border from Rupaidiha-Nepalgunj as a pilot project in 2005, the provision was scrapped after one month, citing that a huge number of people crossed the border, making record keeping work impossible.

Meanwhile, various organisations of Nepalis in India have complained that the government has not heeded to their repeated calls to resolve their problems. Prakash Pandey, team leader of Care Nepal, an organisation working for the rights of Nepali immigrants, said that Nepali organisations in India are preparing to inform the Nepal government of their problems through the embassy and the Department of Foreign Employment. An official of the embassy said that the embassy in busy in welcoming political leaders visiting India and managing accommodation for them and doing its regular chores.

A taskforce led by Krishna Hari Pushkar, director general of the Department of Labour, has suggested making a provision to keep records of Nepalis going to India.

 

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