Dipayal, August 18
Seven years have passed since the haliyas (bonded labourers) were freed in Doti. However, the delay in their rehabilitation has made it hard for them to earn a livelihood.
Nanna Bhul, one of the haliyas of Pachanali VDC, Doti, faces trouble earning his daily meals, though he was freed from the compulsion to work for his landlord following the government’s declaration. However, he has to work for the landlord Tika Malla as his father did so during his time.
The haliya community had been elated after the government declared them free, but delay in their rehabilitation has added to their woes.
Nanna has no property in his name and has been living on his landlord’s land for a long time. However, he was denied land after the haliyas were declared free.
“They ask me to evacuate the land and shift my home, but the government has provided us nothing as promised,” he said. He added that his landlord wouldn’t even listen to him when he asked his old job back. “How am I supposed to feed my family of seven if I have no work and the state hesitates to address my plight?” he asked.
The delay in rehabilitation has saddened the haliyas. Mata Nepali, haliya of Pachanali village, said her economic condition had worsened after they were proclaimed free. “We have lost all hope that the government will do something for us,” she said. Pachanali village has 79 haliyas but none of them own land or Haliya Identity Cards.
Gorakh Sharki, coordinator of National Haliya Liberation Society, Doti, said only 48 haliyas of Kot village, Pachanali, had received Haliya ID cards till now. He added that some of them were returning to their previous landlords seeking their old jobs. Pachanali village is said to comprise the highest number of haliyas in the district.
Acting Chief District Officer Mohan Raj Joshi said only a few haliyas had been resettled as the government had allocated very little land. “Only 27 families among the freed haliyas were resettled in Doti,” he informed. Doti is estimated to have around 1,200 haliya families.
A version of this article appears in print on August 19, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.