Millennium Post

Depopulation empties 734 Uttarakhand villages

Depopulation empties 734 Uttarakhand villages

Dehradun: Migration from development-starved villages of Uttarakhand, especially those in the hills, continues to present a grim picture with over 700 of them totally depopulated in seven years.

Of nearly 16,500 villages in Uttarakhand, as many as 734, mostly in the hilly areas, are totally depopulated. Not a soul lives in them, Vice President of Uttarakhand Rural Development and Migration Commission S S Negi told PTI.

Such ghost villages with their houses lying in ruins and fields overgrown with vegetation abound in Pauri district where 186 out of 298 villages are totally depopulated, he said citing a report submitted to the sate government recently by the commission. Pauri is the worst hit by migration followed by Almora district where a study by a commission team is already underway.

The data covers a period of seven years after the 2011 census, he said.

Describing the situation as "grim", the commission's vice president said while migration from development-starved hill areas is a common problem total depopulation of villages is unique to Uttarakhand.

"Wherever there is lack of development in the country or anywhere in the world, migration is a reality but total depopulation of villages is a rare phenomenon which seems Uttarakhand specific," he observed. One of the reasons behind total depopulation is that while migration from states like Bihar is of a temporary and seasonal nature, outflux from the hill villages of Uttarkhand is of a permanent nature, he said.

"While people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh for instance migrate often to work as labourers in urban areas temporarily and come back, those who migrate from Uttarakhand hills are often educated people who do so in search of better employment opportunities and prospects for settling down," the commission's vice president said. There are also a number of villages in the state where the population size is 8-10 or 2-3 people.

Citing an instance, Negi said while touring Nainidanda block of Pauri district they came upon a village where no one lives except a retired post master and his wife who said they bolt the doors of their house at 4 pm and keep indoors in the fear of leopards.



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