The freed haliya families in Bajura have been hit hard due to the crisis induced by the pandemic.

According to freed haliya Manabir Luwar, there are 48 freed haliya families in Pipaldali in Budhinanda Municipality-1 and they are facing serious food crisis.

"Though we somehow made do for two weeks; shortage of food is biting us really hard now," said Rangi Luhar. The government had relocated some 15 freed haliya families figuring in Category A from then Jokot, Wai, Badhu, Pipaldali and Birsain in Tithichaur of Budhinanda Municipality-1, Tithichaur. The government had purchased land and built houses for the families itself.

"As the families didn't have anything to earn their living, some of them returned to their old masters by leaving their homes," said local civil society leader Janesh Bhandari, adding that there were only seven families living in Thithichaur.

They too are said to be based in Kolti bazaar for work.

Rangi Luhar share his ordeal of having to live off little food these days. "I was making some money by crushing stones, but can no longer do so ever since the lockdown came into force. As I don't have any farmland to cultivate crops and don't have any other source to earn my living, I'm really in trouble to keep my family alive through this crisis," he said.

There are some 1,353 freed haliya families in Bajura now.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 12, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.