April 12, 2020 | Investopaper
The freed Haliya families in the far-west are finding it difficult to have a mouthful, as a result of the nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to stem the spread of Corona virus in the country. As majority of the former bonded labourers depend on daily wage for livelihood they have been directly affected by the lockdown.
The food stock bought with the daily wage earnings has finished and we are now surviving by borrowing from our neighbours, said Hari Damai, a former Haliya. However, as the neighbours too are running out of stock and we are now left to starve.
The relief support being provided by the local level government and various donors are yet to reach the freed Haliya families. “We have been asked to stay indoors to stay away from the virus,” Mandwaj Luhar said, “But we have nothing to eat in our home and hence being forced to go around in the village asking for food.”
Central President of National Freed Haliya Federation Iswar Sunar said the Freed Haliya families are looking forward to relief support as 19 days have passed since the lockdown was imposed. “The number of former Haliyas receiving the government-sponsored relief support is minimal,” he said.
Families like the Haliya who were already in a poor condition before should be prioritized. Many Haliya families have complained of going to bed with an empty stomach.
Sunar has also appealed to all the three levels of government, national and international non-government organization to come to the rescue of the former bonded labourers.
According to the federation, there are more than 16,000 former Haliya families living in the Far-west region of the country.