Ten years on, displaced families still struggling for permanent shelter

Published On: October 7, 2017 04:05 AM NPT By: Amar Khadka

ITAHARI, Oct 7: Eighteen years ago, while migrating from the hills to the tarai, sixty-two-year-old Harka Bahadur Tamang had never imagined that he would ever have to live a miserable life that he is living now. 
He recalls his bitter past when he was driven out of his home in tarai where he had been sheltering since eight years. He has been living the life of displaced since the last ten years.

In 1999, Tamang along with his family came to Haripur of Sunsari from Chulachuli of Ilam. The family had bought two bighas of land at a reasonable price and was doing quite well. Later, the then rebel Maoists joined the mainstream politics abandoning the armed struggle in 2006 by signing a peace agreement. Soon after the Maoist became a part of the parliamentary politics, the number of armed outfits increased significantly in the southern region of the country. 
Tamang's family was internally displaced due to threats of the armed groups. Currently, his family has built a small house by encroaching upon the land of Sunsari-Morang Irrigation Project near Chatara canal.

Recalling those troublesome days, Tamang says, "Every night, youths of one or the other groups placed guns in our forehead and blackmailed us. We are afraid that we might have to live such days in future too," said Tamang. According to him, his family had made the decision to migrate to tarai expecting a better life and prosperous business. Unfortunately, all of their dreams were shattered. 

Many displaced families like Tamang are obliged to work at others' home and are involved in low-paid jobs to raise their family. 
Tek Bahadur Tamang, who had migrated from Sankhuwasabha is also living a miserable life after being displaced from Haripur. "Despite all those tortures and threats, we were successful in saving our lives," he said.
Various incidents of murder and violence had compelled the locals of Haripur to migrate to other places.  Many had to abandon their house and land due to the fear of being killed. 
According to Balaram Giri, 60, of Baraha Municipality ward no 3, as many as 58 families were displaced by November 2007. Since then, some have been living near Chatara canal of Baraha Municipality. Many of them have fled back to their ancestral homes while some are living a displaced life in other districts.

Though the issue of the displaced people had been the agenda of several political parties during elections, they have not brought any permanent solution to solve the problem. 
"Several parties and leaders had vowed to solve our problems but none of them have fulfilled their promises yet," said Tek Bahadur Tamang, adding, "God knows how long we will have to live like this."

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