Lawmakers call for action to retain hill and mountain populations

Bhojpur has been facing a monkey threat for the past few years as people desert rural areas in search of a better life in urban centers and other better equipped neighborhoods.

“Terror of the monkeys has developed in most parts of the district because tracts of agricultural land abandoned by their owners who have moved to towns or villages are growing back into the forests,” said Sudan Kirati, an MP from the district. “With fewer people and less cultivated land, the threat of apes has gotten out of hand.”

Bhojpur is one of the districts experiencing the steepest population declines.

According to the preliminary report of national census 2021, the district’s population has experienced an annual negative growth of 1.32 over the past decade – since the last census in 2011 – and the fourth highest decline after Ramechhap, Khotang and Manang over the period.

The people of Bhojpur decreases to 158,991 in 2021 from 182,459 in 2011, according to the office. There are no less than 32 districts that have seen their population drop over the past decade.

All of the districts experiencing population declines are located in hilly or mountainous regions of the country. None of the districts in the Tarai has experienced a decline in population.

As a result, the Tarai region has seen an increase in its population while the other two regions have seen a decline over the past decade. Geographically, Nepal is divided into hilly, mountainous and Tarai regions. According to the office, 53.66 percent of the country’s population now lives in the Tarai, compared to 50.27% 10 years ago.

According to bureau data, 40.27% of the national population lives in the hilly region, up from 43.01% in 2011, and 6.09% of the population lives in the mountainous region, up from 6.73% a year ago. 10 years.

Legislators from districts experiencing population decline say continued emigration from the hills and mountains in search of better opportunities, education, health and jobs, among others, is responsible for the phenomenon.

They said that while the reduced fertility rate of women has also contributed to the decline in population growth, emigration is mainly responsible.

“We have failed to provide better health, education and agricultural services in rural areas, which has prompted many people to migrate to urban areas and other districts,” said the legislator Kirati, who belongs to the ruling CPN (Maoist Centre). “Many people have temporarily migrated to Dharan and Itahari for the sole purpose of giving better education to their children.”

He particularly stressed the need to ensure quality education in the district to prevent emigration.

Shyam Kumar Shrestha, a lawmaker from Ramechhap district, believes his home district’s proximity to the Kathmandu Valley is one of the reasons that has spurred emigration.

The neighborhood saw the largest annual declines in population over the past 10 years, with the population growing from 202,646 in 2011 to 170,620 in 2021. The population has seen negative annual growth of 1.65%, according to the main statistics agency.

“On the one hand, the fertility rate itself has gone down because people don’t want to give birth to more children these days,” Shrestha said. On the other hand, educated and uneducated people have moved to urban centers in the Kathmandu district or valley in search of better education, employment and a better life.

He said that despite improved road connectivity and access to electricity in the district, emigration has not stopped. “But if we are able to promote entrepreneurship while improving access to electricity and physical infrastructure, the trend can be reduced,” Shrestha said.

A number of hydropower projects are being implemented in the district, including Sunkoshi II, and these are expected to increase the incomes of residents over the next few years. “But an increase in income can also encourage many people to buy property in urban centers, including the capital,” Shrestha said.

Some lawmakers have questioned the counting process itself. Bishal Bhattarai, an MP from Khotong representing CPN-UML, said thousands of people from his district who live in other districts were not counted in the census.

“I have received many complaints from people in my district,” he said.

According to him, a large number of people from Khotang settled temporarily in Dharan, Biratnagar, Gaighat and Kathmandu among others to give good education to their children and for employment purposes and they could have been excluded from the census data.

Khotang saw a fall population by 1.56% per year over the past decade, the second highest rate of decline after Ramechhap. Khotang district had a population of 206,312 in 2011, which fell to 175,340 in 2011, according to the office.

Bhattarai claimed that on the one hand many people went uncounted and on the other hand there was the attraction of better amenities in the urban centers of the lowlands and these two factors contributed to the population decline in Khotang.

Growing migration to the Tarai from the hills has widened the demographic imbalance in both the hills and the mountains, experts say, which could lead to more socio-economic problems, officials and analysts say.

Hari Roka, a political economist, told the Post last week that the massive migration from the hills to the Tarai could invite confrontation between migrant populations and local residents of the region.

“The increasing migration to the Tarai will also lead to a loss of agricultural land in the region, known as the breadbasket of the country. This could have an impact on the country’s food security,” he said.

“We have already seen clashes between political groups representing the Madhesi people and the original hill people, such as the confrontation in the past between the Madhesi parties and the Chure Bhawar Rastriya Ekata party representing the original hill people,” did he declare.

Lawmaker Bhattarai said migration ultimately affects the country’s agricultural productivity. “When human settlements occupy the fertile lands of the Tarai and agricultural lands in the hills and mountains lie fallow, it will affect food production,” he said. Bhattarai’s concern is real as government figures suggest the import of food and agricultural products has been steadily increasing.

According to a to study led by the National Planning Commission, the country imported agricultural products for more than 200 billion rupees during the 2019-2020 financial year, which could be produced in the country. Most agricultural products came from India, according to the study titled ‘Status of exports and imports of agricultural products.’

Meanwhile, on the threat of monkeys in Bhojpur, lawmaker Kirati said he had already asked the Home Minister, the Forestry Minister and the Home Minister to find ways to address the issue.

The legislators also stressed the need for concrete measures to retain the population in the hills through better service delivery and the promotion of development and economic activities.

“One solution could be to develop integrated settlements with all urban amenities in the hill districts,” Bhattarai said. “And that can only be done with the support of the federal government in planning and implementation.”

Comments are closed.