Short term measures failing to stop migration in Bundelkhand

The short term efforts by the local administration and political parties to stop migration from the Bundelkhand region so that people can cast their vote in the November 28 elections appears to be failing, as everyday thousands are leaving their homes for their livelihood.

bhopal Updated: Nov 27, 2018 18:45 IST
Anupam Pateriya
Anupam Pateriya
HT Correspondent, Sagar\Tikamgarh\Damoh\Chhatarpur
Madhya Pradesh,Bundelkhand,Migration
(Getty Images)

The short term efforts by the local administration and political parties to stop migration from the Bundelkhand region so that people can cast their vote in the November 28 elections appears to be failing, as everyday thousands are leaving their homes for their livelihood.

Political observers blame the failure of the much touted Bundelkhand package, whose aim was to stop migration by providing local job opportunities, and improve irrigation and tackle water scarcity in the region, for the continued migration.

Madhya Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region consists of seven district Sagar, Damoh, Tikamgarh, Niwari (newly created), Chhatarpur, Panna, and Datia.

Most of the migrants who are labourers had returned home to celebrate Diwali and ‘Badi Gyaras’, and though many want to vote, lack of job opportunities is pressure to earn is making it impossible for them to stay back.

The Harpalpur and Khajuraho railway stations in Chhatarpur district are jam-packed these days with migrants going to Delhi, Punjab, Haryana in search of work. Harpalpur railway station deputy station manager Rakesh Kumar Mishra said nearly 2000-3000 labourers are going to Delhi everyday for the past fortnight, while Khajuraho railway station manager Subhash Kumar said anywhere between 2000-2500 are leaving for Delhi from the station.

Daddu Ahirwar, 46, native of Devtha village under Maharajpur assembly seat in Chhatarpur district while waiting at Harpalpur railway station said he along with his wife and three children were going back to Delhi to work at a construction site.

He returned just before Diwali hoping to stay back for sowing Rabi crop in his 2 bigha agriculture land and cast his vote in upcoming assembly election. His hopes got shattered when he found that nearby rivers and nullahs had dried and no water left for irrigation. Also no winter rains have been witness in the region. He alleged that the village Sarpanch gives work to those close to him. Left with no option he was going back to Delhi.

Puranakheda village of Shivpur panchayat, Hata block in Damoh district is dominated by Banjara tribals. There are 700 voters and around 300 have migrated. Rama Banjara, 35, said there was no work here so most of our Banjaras have migrated.

He said, “My family has 25 members and 14 have migrated. I am here for looking after the cattle and goats.”

The State Election Officer had directed the district collectors to provide these migrant workers

work under MANREGA so that they could earn their livelihood in their villages and cast their vote. The political parties had also started persuading people to cast their vote and then migrate.

Chhatarpur collector Ramesh Bhandari said every day 23,500 people are working under MANREGA. He said they were creating awareness in villages about their right and duty to vote.

Meanwhile most of the village sarpanchs say that work under MANREGA was not sufficient enough to stop migration.

Gramin Swabhlamban Samiti, secretary Rajkumar Ahirwar said the elections did not have any impact on migration. “From each assembly seats an estimated 15000- 25000 voters have migrated,” he said.

The political parties are upset due to returning of migrating people. BJP MLA and candidate from Bijawar, Pushpendra Pathak (Chatarpur) said the migration would affect the voting percentage.

Congress MLA present candidate from Khargapur assembly in Tikamgarh district Chanda Devi Gaur said, “We are helpless in stopping them.”

The Congress led UPA government had sanctioned “Bundelkhand package’ of around Rs 7266 crores in 2008-09 for development of Bundelkhand region.

So far Madhya Pradesh has received Rs 3864 crore in installments, according to figures available with the Sagar divisional commissioner’s office. However, since May 2015 no further amount has been received under Bundelkhand package from Central Government, sources in the department said.

Sagar Division Commissoner Manohar Dubey said he did not have specific information adding he had been posted recently.

Co-ordinator, NGO Samarthan, Gyanendra Tiwari said due to irregularities and corruption several dams in Panna were swept away and ponds were not holding water. Very little work was done in forest areas. While Kutni Dam and Bariyarpur dam in Chhatarpur district had been constructed the work on the canals had not started, minimizing the gains for the farmers.

First Published: Nov 26, 2018 21:11 IST