Migration from Marginal Districts Causes Population Decline Amidst Basic Facility Shortage

    Prem Prakash Upadhyay
    February8/ 2024
    Last Updated:

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    Pithoragarh: In the frontier district of Pithoragarh, a concerning trend of population decline has emerged, with 8,861 fewer voters recorded over a span of two years. The allure of improved living conditions is prompting people to migrate from the mountainous regions. Despite this evident migration, the government has struggled to implement effective measures to curb this trend. In 2022, Pithoragarh district had 381,581 voters, a number that has now diminished to 372,720.

    The decrease in voter numbers extends across all four assemblies within the district. In the Dharchula Assembly, the count of male voters dropped from 43,581 in 2022 to 43,264 in 2024, while female voters saw a more significant decline from 43,900 to 43,070. Similar declines are observed in the Didihat Assembly, where male voters decreased from 40,600 to 39,607, and female voters dropped from 42,141 to 40,338.

    Pithoragarh Assembly witnessed a reduction in male voters from 54,068 to 52,653 and female voters from 55,103 to 53,334 in 2022. Likewise, in the Gangolihat Assembly, overall voters decreased from 52,595 to 51,902, with female voters declining from 49,592 to 48,550 in 2022. The declining voter numbers, amidst a growing population, strongly indicate a correlation with the ongoing migration.

    Analysis reveals that a significant portion of migrants falls within the age group of 30 to 39. The majority of voters in the district belong to the age bracket of 40 to 49. Notably, there are 5,091 voters aged 18 to 19, while the age group of 20 to 29 comprises 74,249 voters, and those aged 30 to 39 account for 95,201 voters.

    The migration trend is fueled by the lack of essential facilities in border districts, driving people away in search of better education, improved infrastructure, healthcare, and transportation. Challenges such as inadequate healthcare facilities, the presence of wild animals, poor road conditions, and limited employment opportunities are compelling individuals to abandon their homes. In some villages, despite the expansion of road networks, depopulation has become a stark reality.

    Dr. Shiv Prasad Baranwal, Deputy District Election Officer in Pithoragarh, acknowledges ongoing efforts to add new voters to the electoral roll, including awareness campaigns to address this concerning demographic shift.

    —Prem Prakash Upadhyay