There would have been a time when people chopped rocks to make flat fields so that they could live on hills. Those people had tremendous courage to fight against natural disparity. Even today we can spot that courage among people who are totally dependent upon farming in hills. But unfortunately, the legacy of that courage is about to vanish.
The vicious cycle of migration threatens yet another state in India. Villages in the hilly regions of the state are quickly disappearing and mass relocation of inhabitants towards urban areas is taking place for better opportunities and employment.
Let's go through some facts :
According to the census of 2011, out of Uttarakhand’s 16793 villages, about 1505 have no inhabitants and 405 of them have around 10 inhabitants.
According to a survey sponsored by National Institute of Rural Development, about 88% of households in Pauri Garhwal and Almora districts had at least 1 member migrating for employment.
Nobody would have imagined of such a horror on hills.
Most of the migrants are often subjected to permanent relocation.Trying to make a better livelihood by pushing themselves into the labor force is natural among people living in the hill districts.
Some people are not even able to fetch the minimum wage level. With incomes, this low, several families opted to take on the risk of educating their children which marked the beginning of migration story.The economic growth of Uttarakhand has been restricted to few districts of the state.
Lack of healthcare facilities, employment, education, increased human-animal conflicts, shortage of water, depreciating tourism are the factors that have further fueled migration.Lack of government initiatives to provide self-employment opportunities, failure to promote tourism and lack of basic facilities is forcing people to migrate towards cities.
The problem is crucial from the strategic point too because the state shares 625 km long border with China, Nepal.
Hills have also lost political interest as a result of migration.
Hills nowadays are being thought of as a place where one can only stay to have some fresh air and to relieve stress for s few days, not forever.
The culture, civilization of hills is quickly changing. The people who proved that life exists even on rocks, descendants of those are quickly migrating.The new definition of hills is now being re-written in form of Hotels and cottages.
If this condition prevails for few more decades then the day is not far when the beauty, elegance, and culture will be confined to books. The extreme silence prevailing in Villages can only be felt by the one who has seen the hubbub of past, one who himself has lived his life in hills.
I want to connect with people who really feel the pain due to migration from hills, who want to keep the discourse alive.
Why is the younger generation of people who have wrestled against natural disparities and challenges compelled to migrate in an era when the expansion of facilities like transport, information technology, electricity, cleanliness is quickly increasing?
What are the measures and what steps are being taken to curb migration?
What are the challenges that lie ahead?
Healthcare facilities, employment, education, increased human-animal conflicts, shortage of water, depreciating tourism are the real problems which need quick remedies to curb the situation.