Incident Reports

18,000 ex-Haliyas await rehabilitation


Mahendranagar, 18000 purba haliya haru puna esthapana ko ashma. Six years after the Haliyas (bonded agricultural labourers) were freed, the government has rehabilitated only 189 families while more than 18,000 others are forced to live in rueful conditions. With this, most former Haliyas have been compelled to return to their previous profession. According to Prabhunidhi Panta, advocacy officer at the Federation of National Freed Haliya Society, the slow-paced rehabilitation is to blame for the situation. “The government has rehabilitated only 20 freed Haliya families per district,” Panta said, adding that even those who worked as Haliyas for three generations are left out of the identification process while many people faking themselves as former Haliyas have enlisted their names with the authorities concerned in the hope of getting land from the government. “The identification process itself was erroneous,” said Land Reform Officer Shankar Dutta Kelauni. He said due to the error, authorities concerned have not been able to find those enlisted as former Haliyas in the district. Most of the freed Haliyas complained that they had to face even more difficulties after they were declared free. “We go to attend seminars held to discuss our problems just for the sake of a couple of biscuits or noodles to satisfy our hunger,” said Sharmila Karki of Doti, adding that the assurances made during the programmes meant nothing as it did no good for them. Various governmental and non-governmental organisations have spent millions in the name of vocational and skill development programmes to uplift the lifestyle of the freed Haliyas. However, such efforts have not made much difference. According to Man Bahadur BK, member of the Freed Haliyas Problem Resolution Committee, former Haliyas are compelled to migrate to India for job opportunities or return to their former landlords mainly due to the delay in the rehabilitation process. The fact that the government has only made programmes to rehabilitate 10-15 freed Haliyas a year is enough to prove the extent of apathy shown by the government, he said. Stating that rehabilitation was a far cry when the government has not even identified the former Haliyas, Sita BK, coordinator of the National Freed Haliya Society in Doti, said the provision for accommodation and two square meals a will suffice for them. (With inpu


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