in Nepal, the disillusionment of migrant workers on construction sites in Qatar

The narrow, winding road from Kathmandu to Dhanusha district in eastern Nepal is clogged with outdated buses and vans; The former bring workers back to the village, the latter carry frightened goats onto their roof, which are soon sacrificed. At the end of September, the country prepares to celebrate Dashain, the largest and longest Hindu festival. Within hours, 1.4 million people left the capital to join their families and pray to goddess Durga, a symbol of the victory of good over evil that can bring prosperity. The opportunity for separated families to gather around delicious food, freshen up homes, buy new clothes. In most households at least one person has gone to work inside or outside the country.

Urmila Devi Pandit, 35, at her home in Rupaitha, Nepal on September 28.  Her husband Budhan Pandit died in Qatar.

After six hours of tight turns in the mountains, the landscape changes dramatically. The Dhanusha district on the border with India is the only flat part of the small Himalayan country. Furnished with tropical vegetation that flat valley is still overwhelmed by scorching temperatures at this time of year. It is not the poorest region, but it is from here that the largest contingent of Nepalese workers have migrated to Qatar in recent years.

Hundreds of thousands of Nepalese have gone to work there since 2010, the year the emirate was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup. There was no shortage of construction sites: Eight stadiums had to be built or renovated, but also the entire associated infrastructure, roads, highways, subways, hotels, new cities … Allegedly good workers, cheap because they were unskilled saw the Nepalese Workers assigned to the most difficult and dangerous tasks.

Also read: Qatar 2022: the World Cup of excess

Budhan Pandit, a farmer, was one of them. He was from Rupaitha, a plain farming village in Dhanusha, about twenty kilometers from the Indian border. For four years he worked hard at various World Cup locations. The Nepalese worker returned in a coffin. It was twelve months ago. His widow Urmila, 35, lies prostrate on the steps of her home and lets her youngest son, Dinesh, recount her ordeal. The last time she saw her husband was seconds before he died.

“My mother spoke to him on the phone, in the video, the teenager confides. It was time for his break. He worked on the construction of a runway at Hamad International Airport in Doha. He was sitting in front of a bulldozer, which worried my mother. But he told him: “Don’t worry, the whole site is at a standstill.” » The couple were discussing Urmila’s health problems, who was prone to fainting, when suddenly a cloud of dust hit the screen. Then nothing. After two days of torment, a colleague broke the news to her: her husband had been crushed by a bulldozer and killed instantly. It was an uncle who brought the body over two weeks later. Only the trunk remained.

You still have 86.65% of this article to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *