Incident Reports

Freed Kamaiyas face reintegration challenges


Lumbini, Bardiya, Gulariya

While the Freed Kamaiyas Resettlement Committee in Bardiya district has successfully resettled 9,928 of the total 11, 875 freed Kamaiyas (formed bonded labourers) identified in the district, it has been facing trouble resettling the remaining 1,855 households of freed Kamaiyas due to a serious budget crunch. According to the committee, they still need about Rs 270 million just to purchase the land at the rate of Rs 1.5 million for each household of freed Kamaiyas. Likewise, they are short of approximately Rs 20 million to be provided to the freed Kamaiyas (at the rate of Rs 10,000 to each household) for the purchase of timber for house construction purposes, informed secretary of the committee and land survey officer Shankar Bista. However, it is not the only problem faced by the committee. Despite being able to provide land to the freed Kamaiyas over the course of the past six years, the committee has not been able to reintegrate the freed Kamaiyas back into society. More than seven per cent of the freed Kamaiyas that have received land have returned to their former homes after constructing a temporary structure over the land received from the government.

According to Bista, this kind of tendency is on the rise among the freed Kamaiyas as they say they had problems reintegrating back into the society owing to lack of proper means of sustenance and “ill-suited location”, to name a few. Except for four households of Kamaiyas, more than two dozen households of freed Kamaiyas resettled in Bastajpur settlement in Manpurtapara in the district, have returned to their former home and professions after setting up temporary structures on the land they received, said local Sundar Tharu. The committee had provided one to one and a half katthas of land to the freed Kamaiyas a year ago. The problem is not only limited to the settlement but all other locations, the resettlement committee stated. While most of the freed Kamaiyas have returned to their old professions or tilling the lands of their former landlords, others have migrated to India in search of employment, said Bintiram Tharu, one of the leaders of the freed Kamaiyas.

Apart from the forested and public lands, the government has purchased and distributed approximately 1,150 hectares of land, spending over Rs 250 million for the resettlement of the freed Kamaiyas in the district. However, declared free by the government 14 years ago on July 17, 2000, the problems of the freed Kamaiyas have more or less remained the same due to the failure of the government to initiate programmes to reintegrate them back into the society and provide them with alternative means of sustenance.


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