Freed haliyas in Doti complain of being left out of the government data11 years since the declaration of emancipation, the haliya rehabilitation is yet to gain momentum.
Eleven years since they were freed, the emancipated haliyas—bonded labourers—complain that they haven’t received yet the facilities promised by the government.
Many haliyas say there is no proper data on their status and many lament about being left out of the official statistics.
On Sunday, a group of freed haliyas pleaded the prime minister through the Doti chief district officer to look into the matter.
The government declared the emancipation of haliyas on September 6, 2008. The next year, the government started collecting statistics and information about the freed haliyas.
Damber BK, erstwhile central committee member of the Freed Haliya Rehabilitation Committee, said that many haliyas were left out during the government survey. “The government collected data from only 22 out of the 50 Village District Committees that existed in the district,” BK said. He added that about 12000 haliyas in the district were not included in the government data.
“The haliyas say that genuine haliyas have been left out in the data, and that the government should ensure that they get the facilities they deserve,” said Chief District Officer Tek Narayan Poudel, who is also the district coordinator of the Freed Haliyas Rehabilitation Committee. “There is no doubt that many haliyas have been left out from the government’s record.”
Sita BK, a haliya activist, said that the real haliyas are still struggling to make a living. “While emancipated on paper, we are still compelled to work for the landlords. We demand that the government seriously look into this issue,” she added.
According to BK, the haliya practice is still prevalent in a few villages of Doti, such as Gaira, Kandamandau, Gajari and Pokhari. “The government has turned a blind eye to it.”
“Instead of providing land, the government has only allocated the budget for house repair,” BK said.
Poudel, however, said that the process to provide land and settlement to the freed haliyas is underway.
“We haven’t received the land we were promised,” said Prakash BK, a freed haliya of Bagalek village in Purbichauki Rural Municipality. “In many cases, we suspect embezzlement of funds received for our rehabilitation.”
According to government data, in the rehabilitation process so far, 1,291 freed haliyas have received both the house and land, 1,522 have received houses, and 5,706 have got the funds to repair their houses.
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