Uttarakhand Stories

Migration – The Ghost Villages

by Megha Jha
Oct 28, 2015

“There is no trace of life in these villages due to the lack of facilities. The people are helpless and the government disinterested. Such is the scenario in the rural areas of Uttarakhand.”

The lofty hills, the green forests, towering pine trees, chilly weather all through the year, serenity, and so much more pulls the town dwellers to the hills. Every time you visit these heavenly abodes, you wish you could stay there for all your life. But then the adversities and the poor conditions of these hills stop you from doing so. These conditions have even forced the locals to leave for a better place.

No ghosts yet ghost villages:

Ghost villages of Uttarkhand.

The lost door points towards the lost life. A tradition that once flourished is now on the verge of extinction. Photo: TEERNA89

The villages of Uttarakhand are home to thousands of people, but their population is diminishing day by day. What is the main reason behind this decrease in the population? Migration is the main reason that these tiny villages are losing their charm and their inhabitants. A lot of these villages have beautiful architecture. The old houses have intricately carved wooden pillars and lovely porches. But all these are in the state of ruins as there is no one to preserve them.  Due to this migration trend, a lot of villages of Uttarakhand have been declared Ghost Village as they don’t show any trace of human life. People have left these villages and have shifted to other locations, either towns or a neighboring village.

What studies point to:

A study conducted by the directorate of economics and statistics in 2011-12 revealed that nearly 1,100 villages do not have a single person left. According to officials, the problem of migration is severe in Almora, Pithoragarh, Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Bageshwar and Tehri districts, which are also some of the state’s most underdeveloped areas. Government data shows that out of 664 villages with negligible population in the Garhwal region, 341 are in Pauri district alone. If not taken seriously, very soon even these 341 districts will be isolated.

The real cause:

Ghost villages of Uttarakhand

A top view of secluded village Gangar near Panchu Glaciar, Uttarakhand. Photo: Pradyut

The villages of Uttarakhand have remained untouched by the wave of development. The nearest hospitals, schools, markets, or any emergency services etc. are too far for these people which make life difficult for them. There are poor or no roads for the people to commute. Due to the flood of 2013, many of the bridges collapsed and they were never built again by the government.  The locals feel left out as the authorities have always focused on the progress of the plains and have rarely thought about the hills. The lack of job opportunities acts as a catalyst for the migration of people.

A hope for a bright future

With the increase in the tourism sector, this major issue of unemployment could have been solved to a great extent. Migration could be further stopped by connecting each and every village to the major towns. Proper roads will help the peopled reach the town on time. With the moving of people from these villages, even the agriculture industry of Uttarakhand has suffered a lot. With the introduction of new techniques and privatization of farming lands in these villages the natives will be able to find job opportunities in their villages. If these ghost villages are put on the government’s development model, then the natives of these villages will surely return to their homeland because of their emotional attachment and nostalgia.

Megha Jha

Megha Jha


Leave a Reply