DEHRADUN: To restrict the migration of people from underdeveloped 245 villages in Uttarakhand, the state government has drafted a plan to provide minimum 100 days of work through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
Udayraj Singh, additional secretary, MGNREGA, Uttarakhand said, "Villages which are worst affected and where 50 per cent of the population have vacated the place are chosen for the initiative. We will make sure to provide 100-days work so that people don't have to leave their native place for work which is the main reason for migration."
According to the report of Migration Commission of Uttarakhand, over 500 villages are facing above 50% migration leaving these villages to become ghost villages.
The government is also worried about border villages of Nepal and China becoming empty lands which could pose a threat to security.
The present Chief of Defence Staff last year while visiting Uttarakhand raised the issue of migration and need to tackle it.
Shekhar Pathak, a Padam Shri awardee historian commenting the issue said, "The state government has to do just more than that by providing essential infrastructure along with power supply and other amenities like the internet. Preservation of population of the hills is of vital importance because of cultural as well as strategic significance."
According to the state government officials, since the year 2011 census, a total of 734 villages in the state have become totally depopulated becoming 'Ghost Villages'. Out of these, about 20 are adjacent to the international borders.
In total, 565 villages have lost more than half of their population to migration. However, a trend of coming back home was also registered in over 850 villages across the state.
- The highest number of villages chosen are 69 from Almora district, followed by 54 in Pauri, 43 in Champawat, 29 in Pithoragarh, 26 in Uttarkashi district, 22 in Tehri and two in Chamoli district for implementation of the scheme to stop the migration.
- According to the Rural Development and Migration Commission survey report in the year 2018 stated that between the duration of years 2007-2017, total 1,18,981 people from 3,946-gram panchayats migrated permanently.
- Around 3,83,726 people from 6,338-gram panchayats shifted temporarily in search of work and find a better life for themselves and their families.
- The survey pointed out that 50% of the village residents left their homes in search of work, 15% for education and meagre 8% due to lack of medical facilities.
- According to the commission's report, 42% of these belong the age group of 26 to 35, 29% are over 35 years old and 28% below 25-years of age painting a grim picture as youth decided to leave the state.