DEHRADUN: A film based on the issue of migrations and ghost villages of Uttarakhand has made it to the prestigious India Gold competition category of the 22nd MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.
'Ek Tha Gaon', a film by Srishti Lakhera (34) is the story of Semla, one among the ghost villages in Uttarakhand.
Lakhera who belongs to the very village in the film said, "The people of the hills are facing issues of migration and lagging behind in development and facilities which are available in cities. My motive was to showcase their lives and what they face."
The film revolves around the life of people in a village where people have been leaving for cities in search of better life and livelihood.
The film comes after another similar film, Nirmal Chander’s Moti Bagh, on his farmer uncle in Pauri Garhwal, won at IDSFFK (International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala) and was one of India’s entries to the Oscars last year.
A report released by Uttarakhand Rural Development and Migration Commission last month stated that 10 years prior to 2018, around 32,000 people have migrated from Chamoli district where Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat bought 1,300 square meter land urging political leaders to follow the suit to encourage reverse migration.
Total 556 villages on a temporary basis while 14,289 people have migrated from 373 villages on a permanent basis from the district. The report also points out that 42% of the people who have migrated were in the 26 to 35 age group.
The report also recommended an expansion in basic facilities such as roads, electricity, water supply, especially in remote and rural pockets, various measures to strengthen the rural economy, create employment avenues to check migration, to promote horticulture, promotion of tourism including its bordering areas with China, to train in various skillsets which can help them in finding employment and others.
According to the officials of the commission, detailed reports about four districts have been prepared including Tehri (June 2020), Almora (June 2019), Pithoragarh (October 2019), and Pauri (April 2018).
According to the commission, set up by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat in 2017 which released its 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, and 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.
A total of 1702 villages in the state have become totally depopulated becoming 'Ghost Villages'. Among these, 565 villages are such which have lost more than half of their population to migration.