Frontier District Residents Fleeing Amid Basic Facility Shortages, Population Plummets

    Prem Prakash Upadhyay
    February15/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Frontier Districts Witness Unprecedented Migration as Residents Seek Better Lives Amidst Basic Facility Shortages. Pithoragarh's Voter Decline Signals Urgent Need for Government Intervention to Stem the Population Exodus.

    Locals being without hope.

    Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand): In Pithoragarh, a frontier district grappling with inadequate basic facilities, a concerning decline in population is evident as 8,861 voters vanish within two years. Despite the evident migration, the government's efforts to curb the exodus remain ineffective. In 2022, the district boasted 381,581 voters, a number that has dwindled to 372,720.

    The drop in voter numbers is consistent across all four assembly constituencies in the district. Dharchula Assembly, for instance, witnessed a decrease from 43,581 male voters and 43,900 female voters in 2022 to 43,264 and 43,070, respectively, in 2024. A similar trend is observed in Didihat Assembly, where male voters decreased from 40,600 to 39,607, and female voters dropped from 42,141 to 40,338.

    Pithoragarh Assembly saw a decline from 54,068 male voters and 55,103 female voters in 2022 to 52,653 and 53,334, respectively, in 2024. Gangolihat Assembly experienced a dip from 52,595 voters to 51,902, with female voters decreasing from 49,592 to 48,550 in 2024.

    Notably, the age group most affected by migration comprises individuals aged 30 to 39, constituting the majority of voters. The district overall witnesses a significant demographic shift, with 74,249 voters in the 20 to 29 age group and 95,201 voters aged 30 to 39.

    The primary reasons driving migration include the lack of essential facilities in the border districts, such as education, healthcare, transportation, and infrastructure. Poorly equipped hospitals, concerns about wildlife encounters, dilapidated roads, and limited employment opportunities are prompting residents to abandon their homes. Villages, although now accessible by roads, are witnessing depopulation.

    In response to the concerning trend, Dr. Shiv Prasad Baranwal, Deputy District Election Officer of Pithoragarh, stated, "Continuous efforts are being made to add the names of new voters to the voter list. Awareness campaigns are also being run for this." Despite these efforts, the challenge remains to reverse the decline and address the root causes of migration in the frontier districts.

    —Prem Prakash Upadhyay