[with Anjana Luitel, Sunita Bhandari and Manuja Shahi]
defined the 'livelihood' as comprising the capabilities, assets (resources,
claims and access), and activities for a means of living. Accepting this
definition, this field study paper defines, details and delineates the
Rural-Urban Relations between Pokhara Sub-metropolitan city and Hemja VDC on
the basis of the livelihood framework that Department for International
Development (DFID) has forwarded to the school of development. The DFID has
further classified this framework into five different aspects viz. Human, Social,
Financial, Physical, and Natural. Hereby in this paper, we try to excavate what
is the present relation existing there and why the relations exist as they do. Conway
|Photograph of Fewa Lake, Pokhara by Safal Ghimire/2011|
Hemja is one of the VDC of Kaski district. The village has good transportation facility because it is on the way to Pokhara-Baglung highway. The community here is heterogeneous in nature with people of different castes and ethnic background living in harmony. No caste has the dominant population. We found the mixed population of Brahman, Chhetri, Magar and Dalit living together in the village. However, Dalits are living in separate settlements within the village.
The villagers here are more cautious about the education of their children. It might be because of the influence of Pokhara. Pokhara lies near to the village and high class people send their children to Pokhara for better education. The education facilities are not that poor in Hemja. There are 8 primary schools, 3 secondary schools, and 1 higher secondary school in the village. There are also 3 private secondary schools in the VDC. A few students from here study in Pokhara and
Kathmandu as well. The people with good economic status
have also been sending their children for abroad studies.
The villagers invest most part of their income in education then in building houses and buying lands. There are also cyber cafes in the village but the rate is quite high than in Pokhara. The village is quite developed in the sector of education, electricity, communication, drinking water facility and health services.
There are also 4 small cooperatives in the village. Villagers rely on these cooperatives to get small scale loans. There is also newly established City Development Bank. Now people start to open their accounts in this bank. Most people have their accounts in the different banks in Pokhara.
The road network linked Hemja to the urban market and other urban cities which enhanced market opportunities. There were telephone facilities in the urban market as well as in some houses of Brahmin and Chhetris. Mobile facilities were much more popular among the Dalits.
The natural capital is augmented through the collective effort of the villagers. Like the
and the likely forest and their users' group have done many creditable deeds to
protect and preserve nature and especially the forest areas. It has further
protected the wildlife sanctuary there inside the forests. In the village,
there is a mine of flat stones and an ample amount of sand sources. Through
this too, the village is generating its revenue. Tibrekot Community Forest
Socio economic profile
Hemja did not have a big hospital where people could get treated medically .There were only small medicals which had limited medical supplies .If they were to be treated for a serious illness they had to go to Pokhara even the main market did not provide medical care for such cases. So in case of an emergency people had to go to main urban city Pokhara for treatment which was easier option as Hemja was linked with the highway which made transportation very accessible
People of Hemja lived in a heterogeneous community where education was highly prioritized. When we talked to the elder of the village he told us that there are no discrimination between boy and girls as well as Dalits (untouchables).They were treated equally in schools and he also mentioned that girls tend to study more than boys as boys went out for work or studies abroad after S.L.C. The Dalit household we went to had 1 boy studying at class 9 and 2 small children studying at nursery and the daughter in law was a teacher for Nepali in that very school.
Public and Social amenities:
They did not have a public park or some sort of recreational purpose land .They only had a market place where people would entertain themselves with. The market place was like a public gathering where people interacted and even untouchability was forgotten.
Hemja was a village on the highway; it did not have any public sanitation facilities. Every household did have their private toilet though.
In the name of common institutions “Ama Samuha” was pretty active and helped people in need (in terms of money, cutlery/dishes for weddings and so forth).”Ama Samuha “was doing a very effective job according to the Brahmins and Chettris but according to the Dalits they were partial and said that it is only a Brahmins and Chettris organization not theirs. They said that there was discrimination there and they were not even asked for help by them and were not acknowledged at all.
Caste, Class, Inequalities and Untouchability
In Hemja the Brahmins and Chhetris said that they were not prominent cases for untouchability. They said that they touched them and market was the idol place where untouchabiltity did not exist .They also added that they were allowed to touch the well, go inside temples and even their houses except for the kitchen.
According to the Dalits they were discriminated as to not allowed in temples, draw water from well and not enter houses at all. They were telling us about a recent case where they were invited to a wedding of a Chhetri for dancing and singing only and they were not allowed to touch the food .Their food was laid out separately, they told us that they fought and returned without eating. This kind of caste, class inequalities and untouchabilities still existed in Hemja.
Households of Hemja do not produce enough grain to meet their own needs. They produce certain percentage of their grain in the village and import the rest, sometimes directly from terai districts viz. Chitwan, Bardia etc. People here rely on the small market of Hemja and sometimes also on urban grain markets in Pokhara.
The main source of income of the households here is agriculture besides some small enterprises and jobs in relatively small service sector. In the recent years the remittance from the foreign employment has also contributed significantly to the local economy. Because of easy access to transportation facility, the villagers have been able to raise their income. They find vegetable farming as one of the reliable sources of cash income. At present, we can find most of the villagers involved in seasonal and off-seasonal vegetable farming. The vegetables produced here have a good demand in the nearby city, Pokhara. One of the villager said that no one in the village produced vegetable earlier and they had to rely on Pokhara for vegetables. Now everyone is cautious to raise their income and find the vegetable farming attractive. The return rate of vegetable farming is quite high, so many villagers are attracted to it. The farmers here are organized into farmers association. They have even received the benefits from agricultural service sub-centre of the District Agriculture Office. They get hybrid seeds and seedlings from the sub-centre. There is a Livestock Service Sub-centre and a Sub-health Posts in the village too. The villagers have also kept some livestock like cow, goat, buffalo etc. There is a huge demand of meat and other animal products in Pokhara. But they are not able to supply the goats because the scale of goat raring is very small. The goats can hardly meet the demand of their own village. In fact, they have to import goats from the surrounding villages to fulfill their demand of meat.
However, some villagers earn some decent money by selling milk in Pokhara. They use bicycle, motorbike or public vehicle to export the milk to Pokhara. There is no dairy and milk collection centre in the village so they have to go individually to sell their products. Now they are planning to establish a cooperative of milk sellers so that they can get good price, and also can open a dairy to process their milk in the village itself.
In the context of utilizing the local resources to the fullest, the villagers seem to be less effective. There are enough resources in the village and community forests but they are underutilized. There are three community forests namely
which are very rich in resources. However, the villagers have no idea about the
utilization of these resources, and they have done very little to learn about
the potentials of these resources. There are hardly any local resource based
enterprises in the village. The
entrepreneurship culture is not much developed in the village. There are some
shops in the village but the villagers are not aware about the production based
enterprises. There is a block factory and a dana
(meal of chickens) factory in the village but most of the workers are from
outside. The workers are brought from terai districts because the local do not
have skills to work in the factories. Hence, there is a severe lack of skilled
human resources in the village. There are no any initiatives, private or public
to train the local people for various enterprises. This problem has been
fuelled further by the lack of energetic young people in the village due to migration
for employment to the Gulf countries. The small number of well of people are
also migrating to Pokhara, Jaishikhola Community Forest Kathmandu or to the
foreign countries. The low caste people who were to be workers earlier are now
migrated to the foreign countries. This has also blocked the way for promoting
visionary and bright ideas for the deserved development of the village. The
workers and the Dalit class have started seeking employment in the gulf countries;
this has resulted in acute shortage of human resource even for the basic
farming in the village. In this critical scenario, the optimum exploitation of
the local resources and promotion of local enterprises seems a distant goal.
Almost all of the vegetables available in Pokhara are directly exported from Hemja now. It is only because of the highway network from the very mid part of Hemja. Previously, people did not have so much of financial capital to invest upon agriculture. Once the highway was planned to be through Hemja, the people around the area were compensated duly. It created an ample opportunity for them to invest their money in the rest of the sectors of Income Generation (IG). Now, almost all of the crops and vegetables as well as fruits can be grown in Hemja. People say, "This is the place of immense possibilities, we can do everything if we only try."
They have known the importance between the rural and urban areas and their linkages. One, Krishna Chandra Tripathi, opined that as there is the equal importance of every organ in our body to function, the rural and urban areas too have their equal importance in the functions of developments. But the equitable sharing of developmental benefits is a must."
This has generated savings in the local people. With its effect, there are now four Cooperatives and one 'A' level bank operating in Hemja VDC. There is one chicken feed industry, two poultry farms and one concrete block factory operating inside the village. Their product also goes to Pokhara and other areas from there. There is also one woman cooperative financial institution. Apart from this, some traditional financial institutions like Dhukuti,
, and Hoori are also in practice. So, the
agricultural business there can be exemplified as a sort of domestic business
The village had different economic activities which include farming, selling chicken, and selling cash crops like maize all these activities were mostly seen done by the Dalits. Its not that the Brahmins and Chhetris did not do all this as economic activities but they also seemed to have shops of cold store or tea shops at the first floor of their house.
People in Hemja VDC are also from the nearby villages like Ghalel, Lahachok and even from the near district Myagdee. They also go to the countries like Malaysia, UAE, and other golf as well as Euro-American countries for foreign employment. This may be because of the long-run war inside the country and unavailability of any possibilities here inside the nation. But later the generation managed to earn their living by agricultural farming with the help of the irrigation from the nearby river. This was facilitated especially by the Bhoopi Sherchan highway that is from Pokhara to Baglung straight 68 Kilometer.
The academic human capital from here migrates to Pokhara and other cities of the nation in search of the better employment. Previously there was no provision of educational institutions more that that of class 10. The farming skill of the people in and around Hemja VDC is considered widely efficient inside the local areas of Pokhara. The road is good at look. So no any environmental hazards seem to be invited by the roads except than nominal amount of smoke and horn sounds. So the human health around that area seems to be quite good.
People of Hemja were divided into generally two distributions “Dalit village” and “Brahmins and Chhetris”.The “Dalit Village “ was separate from others it was little inside of the main highway where as other caste houses were on the sides of the highway and were better built into modern designs than that of Dalits’.
The village was known to even small children which made is easy for us to locate it .The Dalit houses were one story houses, cemented, and almost all had a sort of a kitchen garden in front of their house. Where they grew maize, onions, garlic and kept chicken for meat and eggs.
The Brahmin and Chhetri houses were at one or to the maximum two stories and were along the highway facing the highway. One of the villagers said that all the houses facing the highway were newly built houses and the houses facing away from the highway were the original old houses. They were built before the highway was made.
The Chhetri women also mentioned that people used to live in the hills that surrounded the highway and once the highway was made they dismantled/sold their houses in the hills and came to live along the highway for better opportunities in terms of market and improved living standards.
People migrated to Hemja from the surrounding hills .They also migrated to urban cities for better opportunities like Pokhara, Baglung etc. The trend of migrating to Gulf countries like Dubai, Saudi Arab and to India is most common among in the Dalit household. They mainly went as labor migrants and send money home.
The Brahmin/Chhetri migrated more towards U.S mainly for education purposes.
The people have started migrating to the developed areas like Pokhara and
as their income level rose. Many people from the surrounding villages like
Lahachowk, Puranchaur, Mardi, and Ghalel are migrating to Hemja every year, as
Hemja is comparatively more developed than these villages. So, the village is
being crowded every year. Many people from Terai districts also migrated to
Hemja during Terai conflict.
The highway brought with it lots of development in Hemja as marketing opportunities, and market to buy daily basic needs. The houses along the highway benefitted by opening tea shops and shops as busses stopped for food and water. The urban market was where people could sell chicken, vegetables, maize and earn money which was their basic income.
Main development issues:
In Hemja ,development pattern was taking a very slow pace even though it was linked by the main highway there was no hospitals and banks whereas the urban market was just a few kilometer from Hemja. There were no motels or hotels which could improve the development of Hemja. This might be due to lack of vision/lack of knowledge of the people of Hemja.
Suggestions for Rural and Urban linkages for balanced development:
Even though there is a main highway going right through Hemja the development was still taking a back step .The urban market was just a few kilometers away and there was no hospital facilities and only limited medical supplies. For health benefits of Hemja a small clinic and gradually a hospital should be opened.
The Brahmins /Chhetris should open a hotel/motel by the locals for people going through the highway. This will benefit the income generation and upgrade the economic profile of the community.
The Dalits should be introduced with much more professional agricultural techniques and tool where they can earn much more than what they earn now. There should be programs to address the sensitive issues of untouchabilities and the Dalits should be able to open their organizations which will benefit them socially and economically.