The Badi community people living on the bank of the Jhupra rivulet at Birendranagar municipality-11, the capital of Karnali Province, have not been able to celebrate Dashain with jubilation for the last 36 years.
Eking out a living by sifting the sand from the bank of the river for construction purpose, the Badi people have not enjoyed the festivals like Dashain, Tihar and others to the full.
Although the country has seen many big political changes over this period, the economic condition of the Badi settlement has not improved over the period. Nearly 150 families are living in huts and shanties on the bank of the Jhupra Khola rivulet.
Lalpara Badi from this community had come to this place when she was 19 years old to work as a labourer. An RCC bridge was being constructed over the Bheri River at that time. She is now 55. At that time, she sifted sand and broke stones for producing pebbles for the construction of the bridge.
Employed during the period of the construction, many families like hers became jobless with the completion of the bridge. They moved on the bank of the nearby Jhupra rivulet.
"During those years, dozers were not used for mining sand from the stream like these days. That means we had employment," said Lalpara. She said the sand and pebbles they collected fetched good price at that time.
However, in the recent years dozers have been employed by contractors for mining sand, displacing them from employment. This means the Badi families have lost their major source of income, pushing them into poverty.
Moreover, the Birendranagar Municipality has banned sand mining in Asar, Saun and Bhadau, the monsoon months, making their life even harder.
Sharing that five-point deal was signed between Badi community and Karnali Province government three years ago, Chhabilal Badi informed that forwarding different programmes for upliftment of Badi community has been mentioned in the agreement.
The agreement has not been implemented yet, he added. "Karnali province government had signed five -point deal after the people from Badi community arrived from different districts of Karnali on February 2021 after they staged sit-in for 18 days before the office of the Chief Minister. But the agreement has not been implemented yet", viewed Chhabilal.
A committee under coordination of Secretary of the Office of the Chief Minister, Anand Saru, to submit the report for the upliftment of Badi Community within two months was formed and it submitted the report to the then Chief Minister Jeevan Bahadur Shahi. But the Provincial government has not initiated any activities except preparing the report.
Also the coordinator of agreement implementation committee, Saru shared that the programmes recommended by the report are in the phase of implementation.
Saying the federation and local levels have to do more works to resolve the problems of Badi community, he mentioned that necessary coordination with the ministry was underway for the same.
An arrangement of budget for marginalized community has been made through social development ministry of the province, he stated, adding works for the construction of hostel for Badi students are underway.