The Ghost Villages – A result of political ignorance
by Priyanjali Bhalla
People living in the cities live together in a society and crib about growing population due to immigration of people. But do we do anything about it ?Just comment and turn a blind eye to the issue of immigration unaware of the fact the somewhere in the isolated hills a lonely soul has to spend her entire day in isolation just because almost everyone in the village have decided to migrate to some other place .Vimla Devi,65, a resident of Bandul village in Uttarakhand’s Pauri district lives all alone in that deserted village .The only soul she could call in her hour of need is Pushpa Devi (also in her sixties) the only one left out of 65 families that used to live here once upon a time .
16 years ago Uttarakhand came into existence. It got separated from parent state of Uttar Pradesh in order to gain sovereignty and be open to mass opportunities for livelihood and development in public and private sector .But nothing was achieved . Political instability and lack of political will for development and improvement caused more harm to the hilly state .It became prey to the greedy and corrupt politicians and started sinking towards its doom. As per census 2011,of Uttarakhand’s 16,793 villages , 1053 have no inhabitants and another 405 have a population of less than 10 .Recent media has reported the number of ‘ghost villages’ reaching up to 3500.
Uttarakhand is referred to as God’s abode when specially referred to the hills serenity and varied flora and fauna .But then why do people migrate from this beautiful region?
Over the years growth of this state was only centered in the three plain districts .The remaining ten districts are far behind in this increasing prosperity of the state .Due to this lopsided development the out migration has accelerated during the recent years .The pace of outgoing migration is so huge that many of the villages are left with the population in a single digit .Hills of Uttarakhand ,today lack in basic and primary amenities and infrastructure that a youth may used to look upon for existence and provident for his tomorrow .This phenomenon has turned into a self propagating cycle. Apart from this, illegal mining in this sensitive ecological area has resulted in deadly landslides and floods which has again forced people to migrate .The poor residents of hills have to suffer outcome of activities of real estate sharks and mercenary governments to extract undue benefits. Women are forced lead a struggling life as she has to manage the farming or livestock all by herself .The male members of the family have become useless being prone to alcohol consumptions .As if this was not enough the women have to deal with domestic violence and health issues causing extra medical burden .Youth is left with no hopes in these areas. No education, no medication, no employment, no sanitation. The irony is that there is not even government’s attention after a whole lot of arising issues of the hills .At last they are left with the only resort of migration .
Instead of improvement in these areas over the changing political parties in governance these areas have only seen migration and more migration of its people, either voluntary or compulsory but no ray of improvement .At time of elections, political parties plays political games discussing only how to increase their profits, neglecting these plethora of problems echoing in the hills .We too remain untouched by such deeper issues. It’s high time that the governing bodies look into the matter and do something about it .Otherwise all that will be left of our hill population will be ghost villages and these abandoned and forsaken lands which will be adding to our heritage!