No jobs, no hope, Nepal's workers head to the Gulf

Fri Oct 4, 2013 11:51am EDT
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By Frank Jack Daniel and Gopal Sharma

TELKOT, Nepal (Reuters) - Raju Prasad Lamichhane is thinking of leaving Nepal again to drive trucks in Qatar even though his father died while working there.

"What else can we do? We have no other source of income," Lamichhane said, sitting with his mother and brother in the half-finished house he started building in Telkot village near Kathmandu with money earned in the Gulf.

"If I could find work here, I would stay."

When he goes, Lamichhane will join at least 400,000 Nepalis expected to leave this year for jobs in construction and as domestic workers in the Gulf and Malaysia.

The treatment of Nepalis building World Cup football stadia in Qatar has come under scrutiny after a report by the British newspaper the Guardian that dozens had died on building sites between early June and early August.

Both governments dispute the numbers but say 276 Nepalis died in Qatar last year, 20 percent while working.

The deaths in Qatar, as well as in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, have shone a light on the huge migration from the landlocked Himalayan nation that got going during a 10-year civil war and has only accelerated since.

Nepal's politicians have failed in the seven years since the end of the war to write a constitution, leaving the country in an unruly limbo that has soured the business climate and stunted growth and job creation.   Continued...

Raju Prasad Lamichhane (L) , mother Mun Maya and brother Dilli speak during an interview at their half-finished house in Telkot village, near Kathmandu October 1, 2013. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar