Freed Haliyas seek skill training for employmentThere are 36 freed Haliya families like Mohan’s whose houses are being built at Baghphanta as a part of freed Haliya rehabilitation programme that started in mid-September with the help of a non-governmental organisation.
Forty-six-year-old Mohan Damai, a Haliya (bonded farmer) from Bhimduttanagar-19 in Kanchanpur district is now building his house near the banks of Chaudhar River in Baghphanta. He has a 10-member family and worries about accommodating them in his two-roomed house. But, Mohan’s primary concern is sustaining the livelihood of his large family.
“We somehow managed to construct our house by taking loans, but how will we support our families when we don’t have any employment or skills to get employed?” Mohan said. He further said that since the lands were allotted near the river banks, there is a possibility of erosion and inundation.
There are 36 freed Haliya families like Mohan’s whose houses are being built at Baghphanta as a part of freed Haliya rehabilitation programme that started in mid-September with the help of a non-governmental organisation.
The locals want to be provided with skill-based training, education and employment, stating that they won’t have enough land left to use as a kitchen garden. “One family has been allotted 10 Dhur land. We have to leave some land for road and are left with only 7-8 Dhur of land,” said Mohan, “We won’t have enough land to even construct a toilet.”
Along with Baghphanta, the government’s Haliya rehabilitation programme is underway at Barkunda, Bedkot, Shuklaphanta, Krishnapur and Beldadi, among other areas, in Bhimdutta Municipality. Most of the settlements have been allotted lands near river banks.
“The freed-Haliya families were handed the land ownership certificate before they were shown the land,” said Dani Luhar, who is also constructing his house at Baghphanta, “We demanded the authorities to let us see the land first, but the authorities did not pay heed to our demands and handed over the ownership certificates.”
Luhar said that since almost all the lands alloted to freed Haliyas are near the riverbanks, they will be displaced even before their rehabilitation.
Responding to the concerns of the Baghphanta locals, Padma Aryal, minister for Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, said that the rehabilitation programme will be completed within this fiscal year and the government will move ahead with skill-based training, education, health and employment programmes.
“We have not been able to introduce these programmes as we have been embroiled in the rehabilitation programme for a long time,” said Aryal. “Starting next fiscal, we will provide the freed Haliyas and Kamaiyas with opportunities for employment by involving them in community farming and development works.”