Haliya system to be abolished: Minister

Kathmandu, May 31:

State minister for labour and transportation Ramesh Lekhak today said that the government will soon announce an important decision on the abolition of Haliya system.

The traditional system of Haliya allows a well-to-do family to keep a tenant as slave for whole life and in return lend a small sum of money. The system is still prevalent in far-western Nepal. Most of the cases of Haliya are from the lower class people. According to activists, there are over 15,000 tenants at the houses of their money lenders. The minister was addressing a programme organised by Nepal National Depressed Society Welfare Organisation (NNDSWO).

“Since the whole country is heading toward inclusive democracy, where there will be equal space for all ethnic communities, women, Dalits and other downtrodden communities, a custom like Haliya will no longer be in existence,” he said.

According to him, any kind of discrimination against any caste, creed or on any other basis among human beings is a crime against humanity that deserves immediate elimination.

Earlier, the NNDSWO handed over a memorandum to the minister with 11 demands.

The organisation demanded the representation of the Haliyas in the constituent assembly and urged the government to immediately announce abolition and rehabilitation of the Haliyas.

“All the contracts made between the land-owners and the Haliyas should be dismissed, their loans waived and they should be compensated with the properties of the land-owners,” the memorandum states.

It also sought financial assistance and vocational training for the Haliyas. Addressing the same function, Hari Sripaili, the director of Dalit Empowerment Programme, showed dissatisfaction that the House of Representatives pronounced on many vital issues but remained silent on issue of Dalits.