Phurpa Lhamo  | Wangdue

The Wangdue medical surveillance team collected samples from 150 Indian workers of the Punatsangchhu-II hydroelectric project (PII) for the Covid-19 RT-PCR test yesterday.

The samples were sent to Thimphu and results are expected in two days.

According to PHPA II management, the test was to produce the Covid-19 certificate to process the leave of the Indian workers.

PII Managing Director Amresh Kumar said that in the first phase of the process, around 150 Indian workers would leave for home.

He added that the workers could leave on September 5. “Embassy is working hard. Both the Bhutan government and Embassy of India in Thimphu is facilitating the process.”

Today, almost 680 workers have signed to leave for India.

The list was collected after around 500 workers gathered in front of the Jaiprakash Associates Limited (Jaypee Group) on August 27. Project chairman and Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma also visited the site and promised the workers to send them home early.

MD Amresh Kumar said that workers who had earlier said to leave in November have also registered this time fearing their leave wouldn’t be processed next time.

“There are cases, where just out of fear and apprehensions, workers have started putting in an application.   

Because of unlock 4 things have been substantially eased out (in India). They have in mind that in India things are free and they are put in unnecessary hardships here.”

Some workers of PII after their names weren’t called for the RT-PCR further expressed concerns to the management yesterday. However, things have settled today.

Similarly, applications of 135 Indian workers of the Nikachu Hydroelectric project have been sent to the Indian Embassy. The documents were sent around five days ago, the project management said.

The project management will facilitate the Indian workers’ leave according to the India Embassy’s approval.

A worker of the Nikachu HEP said that with family emergencies, he wished to leave for home as soon as possible.

He further added that in India, he had chances of finding work. “My grandmother and mother aren’t well,” the 28-year-old man said.

Today, the management is accepting applications as per workers’ request to leave for home. The Nikachu HEP has 992 Indian workers.