Nepalese seek livelihood in TN

Balkrishna in his pani puri shop on Anna Salai.

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Jagdishor Panday

Chennai, November 3: The southern state of India, Tamil Nadu has become the major destination for Nepalese who want to earn a livelihood.

People from three hilly districts of Nepal namely Dang, Parbat and Baglung are working in Tamil Nadu. They work as waiters, chef cooks and managers at restaurants. They also work as security guards and run small shops across the city.

 

“There are more than 3 lakh Nepali people in Chennai”, claims Uma Nanda Sharma, President of north Tamil Nadu unit of Mulprabha Akhil Bharat-Nepali Ekta Samaj.

 

“There are more than 3 lakh Nepali people in Chennai”, claims Uma Nanda Sharma, President of north Tamil Nadu unit of Mulprabha Akhil Bharat-Nepali Ekta Samaj.

“It was hard to find a job in Nepal, so I came here,” says Sharma. “Even now we cannot find a job in Nepal and agriculture can’t sustain our livelihood”.

The Samaj was founded in 1979 in Banaras whose main purpose is to work for the unity and welfare of Nepalese people in India. Sharma came here 23-year ago from Baglung.

Like Sharma there are over 7 lakh Nepalese in Tamil Nadu and over 3 lakhs in Chennai. Some families have settled down here and even have ration cards.

“It was hard to find a job in Nepal, so I came here,” says Sharma. “Even now we cannot find a job in Nepal and agriculture can’t sustain our livelihood”.

Balkrishna is also from Baglung. He run a pani puri shop on Anna Salai. He came here 25 years ago. Chennai is the second home for him. He visits Nepal every two years. “First I came here to earn and stayed here for a long time,” Balkrishna said. “I am earning more than Rs 1 lakh a year. So I am happy for it.”

Resham a 14-year old is working with Balkrishna. Resham came here one year ago after his father Shiva met with an accident and fractured his leg. Now, Resham doesn’t wants to return to Nepal.

“I earn more than Rs 5000 a month. I will send money to my mom in Nepal,” says Resham. His father is working in Bangalore now.

Arjun and Mykal are from Dang are working at Anna Centenary Library since four months as lift assistant. Earlier, they worked as waiters in a hotel. “It is easy to learn the local language here if you have worked in a hotel.” observes Mykal. Arjun said they earn around Rs 7000 per month which is enough for them to stay here and even send some money back at home.

Mykal and Arjun can easily talk and understand Tamil. Resham also has a command over the language, which he requires in his work. Balkrishna and Sharma are the masters of the language.

The Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship-1950 which allowed citizens of both countries to move without a visa has helped these migrant workers.