SURKHET, March 2: The Karnali Province government is preparing to form a committee for the protection of the Raute community, which has been living a nomadic life in the forests. Chief Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi said that the provincial government was going to form a committee to guarantee food, shelter and security to the Raute community.
“The state is responsible for the protection of the endangered Raute community in Nepal,” he said in a meeting with the Raute chief on Monday. “We will start working very soon by forming the committee.” The provincial government has decided to add Rs 2,000 per person to the social security allowance being given to the Raute community.
Chief Minister Shahi also said that police would be mobilized immediately for the security of the Raute community. He called Karnali Province Police Chief DIG Basanta Kumar Pant and requested him to deploy police personnel for the security of the Raute community. “As the population of the Raute community is declining due to excessive consumption of alcohol, police are being mobilized to control alcoholism and protect the community,” said Chief Minister Shahi.
“Wherever the Raute community goes, the nearest security unit works for the security of the community and will try to control liquor consumption,” he said. “Now we will take action against those who sell liquor to the Raute community.” He said alcoholism was rampant in the Raute community and if it could be controlled, many problems existing in the community would be solved.
Raute chiefs say their population is declining because women and children also consume alcohol. Ten members of the Raute community have died in the past month, most of them are children. When the chief minister visited their settlement last month, the Raute community had a population of 156. Now that number has dropped to 146.
The provincial government has stated that modern tents will be provided to the Raute community instead of building permanent houses.
Raute chief Bir Bahadur Shahi said that they have been starving for the past four months as they have not received the social security allowance. “There is no market for the wooden utensils we produce. It has been four months since the government paid the allowance,” said Chief Shahi. “It would have been easier if food and allowances were provided immediately.”
He also complained that they have not been receiving the monthly allowance from the government.