Famine fear upsets Rautes

SURKHET: As people stopped bartering foods with their hand-made wooden vessels, members belonging to Raute — the only nomadic tribe of the country — are likely to suffer starvation this time around.

In order to relieve the members from the impending food crisis, their mukhiya (chieftain) sent four representatives to Surkhet from Kusapani VDC-4 of Dailekh district where they have been residing temporarily.

The Raute representatives today urged the senior government officials at District Development Committee and District Administration Office at Surkhet to provide them with food.

Shivaraj Shahi, the team leader, said, “We've come here to ask for food with government officers as we’ve almost run out of food.” According to him, they could not buy rice as the people stopped purchasing their wooden ewer. He added that their mukhiya Main Bahadur Shahi sent them to ask food with the government officers as starvation was almost inevitable in their community this time.

Prakash Shahi, another Raute youth, said that the allowance provided by the government was not sufficient for their livelihood. He added, “Though the government decided to provide Rs. 1,000 allowance per person, we got only Rs. 500.” He also revealed that they had got the allowance of ten months only, and not of all 12 months. “It'd be better if the government provided allowance to us on a monthly basis.”

The team also urged the Local Development Officer Yagya Prasad Bhattarai to initiate for such provision. They urged Bhattarai to take their problem seriously as their members were going to die in the lack of food very soon.

On the occasion, LDO Bhattarai provided Rs 5,000 as an immediate

relief to them. He said,

“I would try my best to make provision for enabling you to receive monthly allowance.”

According to Contemporary Vision, an organisation working for

the welfare of Raute people, the latter are hit hard due to lack of food this year. Immediate action is required to preserve people of this endangered community, it said.

Members of the organisation who returned after living with the Raute community for over a week said that the Rautes would start dying due to starvation in case they failed to get food within a few days. There are 150 Rautes in 50 households in Dailekh.

In January, leaders of the community had gone to Kathmandu where they had met President Ram Baran Yadav and then PM Pushpa Kamala Dahal “Prachanda”. After the Rautes apprised them of their plights in forests, the President and PM had assured them of help.