Payback time for Dashain debts

TANAHUN: As Dashain comes to an end, people belonging to Bote community here in Byas Municipality-5 gradually emerge out of their shelters and set out for riverbanks.

They are, however, no more venturing into the riverside for their customary occupation of fishing. Now, they go there for panning gold with a view to pay back their hefty debt they loaned from well offs to celebrate the Dashain.

Karna Bahadur Bote, 45, one in the group, plans to return Rs 10,000 that he owed a local jeweller. According to him, many persons -including women — set off to the Trishuli, Budhigandaki, Kaligandaki and Marsyangdi riverbanks in search of gold today itself. “Packing foodstuff, tents and other required materials to search the gold in the sand, many of them left their houses today,” he said.

There are 135 persons in 27 households at Kumaltari area of Ward-5 of the municipality.

“I borrowed money to celebrate Dashain and fulfil the needs of my family members. Now, I am going to search gold in the riverside to pay the debts,’’ he said.

He also revealed that it was not that different Dashain for him as the previous ones .Last year, I had loaned just Rs 7,000 and paid back after collecting gold from the riverside,’’ he explained.

Forty-four year old Suk Bahadur Bote too left home along with his wife Junmaya to search gold. He had collected half tolas of gold last year. “I hope to collect more than a tola this time.’’

Likewise, Bir Bahadur Bote, 52, is also preparing to leave home in search of gold. He said he had plans to feed his family members after selling the collected gold.

Although the searched gold could fetch them a good income, Bote people lament that they are compelled for ‘gold rush’ as their traditional occupation of fishing is in danger due to the use of pesticide and electricity current in the rivers.

The Botes in the rushcome back home only after three months to celebrate another festival Makar Sankranti.