By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 31 Mar: The Uttarakhand Government has permitted foreigners stranded in the state to go to Delhi by road. They would be allowed to go to Delhi only. An order permitting their travel to Delhi was today issued under the signature of Joint Secretary Omkar Singh. The letter is addressed to the district magistrates in the state and it says that the majority of foreigners stranded in the state wished to go back to their countries at the earliest but were unable to do so because of the lockdown.
The instructions given to the District Magistrates are, however, conditional. The foreigners would be permitted to travel to Delhi subject to pre-approval by the Ministry of External Affairs in each case. Hence, the DMs would be able to permit travel by only those foreigners whose cases for travel to their countries had been approved by the Ministry of External Affairs.
It may be recalled that the foreigners have to contact their embassies for permission to travel, which then refer the case to the Ministry of External Affairs. Once the permission is received, then they would be permitted to travel to Delhi by the respective District Magistrate. In other cases, the district magistrates would have to seek clearance by the Ministry of External Affairs to allow the applicants to travel to Delhi. It is also pertinent to point out here that a large number of Nepalese citizens are also stranded at the Indo-Nepal border in Uttarakhand but have not been allowed to enter Nepal by the Nepalese authorities. Most of these Nepalese citizens earn their living as daily wagers in the state. The Uttarakhand Government needs to deal with this issue at the earliest on humanitarian grounds and provide for their food and boarding till they are allowed by Nepal to enter their native country. It also needs to get in touch with Nepalese authorities through Government of India to resolve the problem.