There is a health desk at Rani in Biratnagar Metropolitan City-15 to monitor the health of people coming from India and maintain records. The desk was set up after the recent spread of coronavirus in India. At present, only two health workers are posted at Rani, the main entry point to Biratnagar, the capital of Province 1, from India’s Jogwani.
They keep records of people entering Nepal from India by collecting their names, addresses, and the places of their visit. The health workers also take temperatures and inquire about people’s health conditions.
Health worker Dilmaya Pariyar says it takes about five minutes to record a person’s details. “The number of people entering Nepal legally is very low,” says Pariyar. “Sometimes we get two to four people, sometimes there are none.” In the ongoing Nepali month of Chaitra (March-April), only 211 people—63 women, 17 children and 121 men—have entered Nepal through this checkpoint after completing the process.
However, an estimated 5,000 people have been entering Nepal every day using smuggling routes by evading security personnel, making the health desk at Rani useless. According to security personnel, traders in India’s Jogwani Bazaar have spread rumors that there will be a ‘lockdown’ in Nepal again. Following the rumors, the number of people going to buy daily necessities has increased.