ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Migration from Hilly Areas

A part from explaining the 'missing men' situation, Ashish Bose (July 1-7) has also delineated reasons for migration from the villages of Uttarakhand. What is true of Uttarakhand, is also more or less true for villages of Dang district of Gujarat. Every year, tribals of this hilly Dang district migrate to the plains of south Gujarat in search of employment. Usually they are hired by the sugar factories and are paid according to the piece rate system (on the basis of the quantity of sugarcanes they cut). But this migration is seasonal and lasts for six to eight months. They return to their villages as soon as the monsoon begins to carry out the agricultural activities. Whether this reversal is also seen in Uttarakhand or not, needs to be known. According to Bose, only males migrate in Uttarakhand and females stay at home. But in the Dangs, entire family migrates to earn livelihood. Except in the monsoons, most huts in villages of Dang wear a deserted look. Here it also affects the education of children. They cannot attend school as they also migrate with their parents.

There is also a similarity in the reasons for migration in Uttarakhand as well as the Dangs. It is a well known fact that forests and tribals are interwoven and depend on each other. But the forest conservation policy of the government prevents tribals from using forests as their livelihood and therefore, they are forced to look elsewhere. The lack of irrigation facilities is also one of the major reasons. Only 0.16 per cent of the total arable area of Dang is irrigated. And industrial activity is nil. There are 4 registered factories in the Dangs employing only 84 people according to 1991 District Census Handbook. It is ironical that the so-called golden corridor that runs from Mehsana in north Gujarat to Vapi in south Gujarat, is not even 100 km away from this district. All these factors contribute to the phenomenon of migration.

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