Kathmandu, 17 December. One hundred and thirty Nepalis who went to India for employment have been stranded due to the fraud of travel agencies.
They had bought Indian bus tickets from Bardadevi Tour and Travels Pvt. Ltd. at Dhangadhi Bus Park on Monday. However, they were forced to return at midnight from Paliya, India, about 45 km from Dhangadhi, after the bus refused to take them, claiming that it had cheated them of Rs 10 million.
The Nepalis, who had booked tickets in Mumbai, Bangalore, Ratnagiri and other places in Dhangadhi, had left for India from Trinagar on Monday evening. A travel agency agent told them to take another bus from Paliya to their destination and took them to Paliya in two vehicles from Gauriphanta. However, an Indian bus operator said that Bardadevi had eaten Rs 10 million of the ticket and would not take the passengers from there. He refused to take it even after begging a lot. Instead, the bus brought Gauriphanta Naka at midnight and left Mohan Singh Khadka of Ghodaghodi Municipality-6 of Kailali, who had booked a ticket to Mumbai, said that he reached Dhangadhi at one o'clock in the night while walking from Gauriphanta. "We reached Paliya at 7 pm. We talked about the bus coming at 10-11 pm," he said. "The bus came but Bardadevi Travels did not pay Rs 10 million. We reached Dhangadhi on foot from there. 'He said that some Nepalis who had bought tickets from Bardadevi were still in Paliya. The Nepalis who reached Gauriphanta had opened the checkpoint at night by requesting the Indian security personnel. They reached Dhangadhi Bus Park on foot and stayed there all night. Anna Bhat of Kanchanpur Jhalari, who was on her way to Bangalore, India with her husband and four-year-old son, said she slept on the floor in the bus park all night. "We have a small child. There was nothing to cover us. We spent the night on the ground in the cold," she said. She explained that the travel agency had deceived them. The travel agency has not refunded the money to the victims till Tuesday evening, nor has it made any arrangements to go. The victims have lodged a complaint against the travel agency at the District Police Office. "So far, we have not received the ticket money back, nor have we made arrangements for the ticket takers to go," Bhat said. Spokesperson of the District Police Office DSP Prateek Bista said that four persons including the operator and agent of Bardadevi Tour and Travels were taken under control on the basis of the victim's direct request. "We were cheated. About 30-35 people had filed a petition in the morning demanding a refund of the ticket money," he said. Earlier, Bardadevi Travels had cut tickets for Mumbai, Bangalore and other cities of India and sent them to various cities in India. Only a few years ago, 33 people who had bought tickets from here were stranded in various cities of India without reaching their destination. The relatives of the victim had complained to the police saying that they were stranded in the middle of the road after taking the ticket money. Even then, the operator was asked to return the money, said DSP Bista. Travel agencies have been charging double fare from poor Nepalis who are forced to go to India amidst the epidemic due to lack of employment in the country. Agents of various travel agencies are deployed from the bus park to the checkpoint to buy Indian bus tickets. They are forced to buy tickets at Wari because they are afraid that it will be difficult to cross the border without getting a ticket and they will not be able to get a bus. From a new magazine daily