Impoverished Dalit families in Khamtoli plea for help from stateFor lack of education and employment opportunities, most of them are living a life of poverty and destitution.
There are eight Dalit families living in Khamtoli settlement in Dogadkedar Rural Municipality, Baitadi. For lack of education and employment opportunities, most of them are living a life of poverty and destitution, but the concerned authorities have done nothing to ease their plight.
After the local level elections in 2017, candidates from various political parties came to the settlement to seek votes. Almost all of them promised them land and houses, but nobody ever came back, say locals. The settlement, which lies on a slope by the Mahakali Highway, is at high risk of landslides. The villagers have long been urging the authorities to relocate them to a safer location.
“During the last election, local leaders had visited the settlement and promised to provide us with a better life. But they are yet to come back to make good on their promises,” said Ramiram Mahar, a local.
The Dalit families in the settlement eke out a living by working as daily wage workers. Some of them even go to India for jobs.
“We don’t have proper jobs or land to grow crops. The children help us collect fruits and edible roots,” said Shereram Mahar, another local. “Our children have to skip school to forage for food in the forest. I fear that our children’s future will also be constrained by this life of poverty.”
Meanwhile, Parbati Karki, vice-chairperson of Dogadkedar Rural Municipality, said the local unit is aware of the Dalit families’ plight, but it has yet to prepare plans or policies for the welfare of the community.
“We will address their issues by including them in the council meeting soon,” Karki said.