Food crisis hits haliya families hard in Bajura

Bajura, April 8

With the announcement of nationwide lockdown to contain the possible outbreak of coronavirus, food crisis has hit daily wage earners, especially haliya families hard in Bajura.

Freed haliya Ganga Ram Luhar in Budhinanda Municipality says the food crisis has hit 48 haliya families hard at Pipaldali and Tithichaur of the municipality.

Rangi Luhar, a local, said daily wage earners were facing acute food crisis due to the lockdown. Nepal government had constructed houses for 15 haliyas of the then Jukot, Wai, Pipaldali, and Birsain at Tithichaur of Budhinanda Municipality.

Some haliyas had returned to their former landlord leaving their house behind after they could not manage daily meals for their families, while some have been working as daily wage earners at Kolti Bazaar.

Civil Society Leader Janesh Bhandari says the haliyas have been struggling for food as there was no way to manage their daily meals due to the lockdown. He said they were been managing daily meals for 10 members of a family by crushing gravel and stones and sifting sand.

Rangi said all work had been halted due to the lockdown.

“I do not have land to plant crops,” he said, adding that he had been running the family with daily wages. “My family have not been eating sufficient food since the government imposed the nationwide lockdown,” he added.

Chandaya Luhar faces a similar plight. He sells firewood in Kolti Bazaar and works on the landlord’s field.

“We are bound to stay inside the house and have not been able to go out to collect firewood due to the lockdown,” he added.

As many as 65 people of seven families have been staying at Tithichaur.

Dalu Nepali said all the haliyas share the same plight as they run their families with daily wages. He said the haliyas used to manage daily meals by working in Kolti Bazaar and Liluchaur among other places. He added that since the government had imposed the lockdown, it had to manage the food for them.

Mayor Padam of Budhinanda Municipality Giri said daily wage earners among other labourers have been facing the problems of food shortage. He said the municipality has invested some amount in coronavirus prevention and emergency fund.

He said that Rs 50 lakh was invested in the fund. Giri informed that the municipality has decided to provide relief to daily wage earners and haliyas from the fund. The government had distributed identity cards to 1,189 haliyas of different categories.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 09, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.