Around 2,000 Kamaiyas, the freed bonded labourers, in the mid- and far-western regions are still waiting for their rehabilitation. There are an estimated 37,000 Kamaiyas in Nepal. Around 1,400 in Kailali, 300 in Bardiya, 150 in Banke, 100 in Dang, and 100 in Kanchanpur are yet to be rehabilitated,” local bodies say. In Bardiya, the Kamaiyas are living under temporary huts near the banks of Babai, Karnali and Gerwa rivers and are at high risk of flooding. Freed Kamaiya Chinka Tharu said he has no land to construct the house. “We have been staying in a hut for many years,” he said. Even 16 years after the liberation of Kamaiyas, many families are facing similar problems as in the past. Many of them are staying at Jogipur in Manpur Tapara, Japati in Khairichandanpur, Durga-Nagar in Bhimmapur, Thapapur in Patabhara, Ramnagar in Sorahawa and Kalika areas in Bardiya.
Hari Gyawali, the coordinator of Freed Kamaiya Rehabilitation Committee, said the Kamaiyas are facing problems due to a delay in purchasing land. “We can purchase land only after Kamaiyas choose plots,” said Gyawali, adding that the committee has Rs 90 million in its account. Out of the total 11,875, freed Kamaiyas in Bardiya, 10,883 have received identity cards. Narahari Tiwari, an official at the District Land Reform Office, accepted the delay in the land purchasing process. The government had resettled Kamaiya families in Panditpur, Rampur, Kahrichandanpur and other areas of Bardiya district in the past. “However, they did not like the allocated land and started returning to their own settlement,” said Tiwari.