Migration from rural to urban areas is now becoming a concern for any local governments They are worried because migration is on rise and they want their people to preserve what they have rather than leaving all behind.
They migrate due to four main reasons. First, it is to do with human-wildlife conflict, secondly due to lack of infrastructure, third for better opportunities and fourth they want to enjoy the city life.
Local government leaders that this paper talked to said that, people migrate to urban areas leaving everything behind including their lands and houses. They leave their houses empty for a long duration, which leads to the destruction of the house and the land.
However, the same local government leaders said that, they might be able to stop people migrating from rural to urban areas by giving them better facilities (road, electricity, water supply, hospital, schools).
Kanglung Gup, Kinzang Dorji said that, there are people who have migrated to urban areas looking for better opportunities. “They want to travel and have a city life but the reason that they give for leaving is wildlife conflict which is not the main reason,” he said.
He said, “There are people with not much educational background and they want to migrate looking for jobs. It is not so easy to have jobs in town as there are few who came back to village thinking that they have made a wrong decision.”
He also said that, they come back with guilt and thereafter they decide to do farming and some own shops in the village. “No one wants to stay and do farming that is the reason why they really want to migrate”, he added.
Yalang Gup, Chosung Wangdi also shared that, the reason behind migration is that, they have tough time doing farming. People in rural areas have to depend on agriculture, which is not an easy job to do unlike the office goers who just have to sit in-front of computer and finish the work by 4 pm.
“After so much hard work and effort made on cultivation, the result that they get at the end is poor because of wildlife conflict. They have to put in an extra effort to keep away the wild animals from harming their crops, by guarding it the whole night”, he said.
He also said that, if they happen to have a good output (agriculture product) they do not have a place for marketing as the road access is poor and so they face problems in transporting their products. “So they say that it is better to go in town in search of job rather than to suffer and die here”, he added.
Drametse Mangmi, Ugyen Tenzin said that, today in his gewog, there are not much issues related to people wanting to migrate to urban area because there is road access, electricity, water supply and better education facilities.
He also said that before people migrated due to lack of facilities. Thought they are into agriculture work, they did not have a market to sell their products and so they used to consume what they produced.
He said, “The issues that the villagers face today is, wildlife conflict. They work hard for their living but the wild animal destroys what they have cultivated and this makes their living hard”, adding that this must be the reason why they want to migrate, looking for better opportunities.
Similarly, Lokchina Gup, Indralal Ghalley said that, in his gewog, the people without land are migrating to urban places because they want to earn their living there. He also said that they go to other place, ask the land for lease and make their living.
He said, “There are a few dropout students who are in the village helping their parents in farming while there are few who leave their parents in the village and get settled in the town”.
He also said that, most people, do not want to stay and work in the villages instead want to have a wonderful life in city which is tough to have in reality.
Member of Parliament Dubthob of Bomdeling-Jamkhar constituency said that the reasons are that they look for better opportunities and they want to have a good income for the family.
The MP said that those in villages have to depend on agriculture which is not so easy. There were many farmers in the past but now, with the change in times they have lost interest in farming.
“Conflict with wildlife is the main issues when it comes to farming. Farmers work hard for their family, they do the cultivation and go through a lot of difficulty but at last they get a poor product. Wildlife hampers their cultivation which brings down the interest of people in farming”, he added. .
The MP said that, some people migrate because their children who are working in the city ask them to do so. He said, “People in rural areas face a lot of challenges. The migration can be reduced if they are provided with better facilities in every village”.
NC Sonam Dorji of Dagana Dzongkhag said that, it is difficult to survive in the village because family income is low and one cannot make much income for the family from just farming. He said they also migrate because they want to have a better opportunity.
He said, “People are losing interest in farming because there is no proper marketing”. He also said that, country has to import everything from outside due to poor marketing in the country.
“So this might be the reason why people prefer urban areas. They don’t want to suffer instead they want to have a better opportunities in city”, he said.
On the other hand, rural-urban migration not only hampers rural areas but it also has a lot of impact on urban areas. Migration to urban has lots of impact with traffic congestion, overcrowding, housing issues, social problems, water shortage and waste management.
These issues in some cases also lead to more number of crimes. People without job for longer duration get frustrated and get into crimes like burglary, robbery and drug possession.
Kado, a 45 years old man shared his reason behind migrating to urban areas. He said that, he along with his family gave up farming and so he decided to come to Thimphu and set up a business for his family.
“I have my land and house in village and there is no one to take care of it. The land is all dried and house has almost become like a haunted house. I want to make a living staying in city and I am happy that I am doing well”, he added.
Tshering Zangmo, mother of three said that, she came to Thimphu because her son wanted her to come and stay with him.
This article was made possible due to support from the Department of Information and Media