Kamaiyas’ uplift a distant dream

Kathmandu, March 21:

It has been almost nine years since the government freed Kamaiyas but they were yet to be rehabilitated or given land.

The cabinet decision of 17 July 2000 had declared the eradication of Kamaiya tradition with immediate effect and promised to rehabilitate them. But more than 11,000 of 27,000 Kamaiyas are still without land and shelter.

The government had promised to give each Kamaiya family five kathas of land, enough timber and Rs 10,000 in cash to build houses. The government has been allocating budget for freed Kamaiyas every year without altering the fate of a considerable number of Kamaiyas.

A source at the ministry of land reform and management alleged that the the budget allocated for the Kamaiyas’ rehabilitation was being misused. He added that Rs 9 billion had already been spent but a considerable number of Kamaiyas were without food and shelter. The ministry has spent most of the allocated money in the name of skill development training.

Many NGOs and INGOs have also spent huge amounts in the name of Kamaiyas but have nothing much to show.

Even the formation of a nine-member central-level coordination and monitoring committee has not helped much. The Maoist-led government recently formed Kamaiya Rehabilitation Executive Committee to expedite the task of Kamaiyas’ rehabilitation.

At least 11,000 Kamaiyas of Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Kailali, and Kanchanpur are eagerly awaiting rehabilitation. Dhurba P Sharma, coordinator of the committee, plans to ensure the rehabilitation of the remaining Kamaiyas within this fiscal year. According to him, all the Kamaiyas of Dang and Banke will be rehabilitated within this month.

According to the latest report, there are 58 Kamaiyas in Dang, 843 in Banke, 6,763 in Bardiya, 3,490 in Kailali and 446 in Kanchanpur, who are awaiting rehabilitation. Sharma said, “We have demanded sufficient

budget from the finance ministry to rapidly rehabilitate them.”