TERATHUM-All NGOs' activities have come to a standstill in the last month after the Maoists ordered them to stop working for one year. Affected are around 60 NGOs and INGOs throughout the district, including those registered with the people's government.
Many of the NGOs were working with money given by donor countries for the development of remote areas in the region. Chairman of the NGO Federation of Terathum, Kapil Deb Singh, says, "NGOs here have contributed to the health, education, road, drinking water facilities, bridges and agriculture in the district to improve the economic status of the people. But now, all this has come to a standstill."
According to the Federation, around six organisations that had started work here have terminated their programs altogether. The Maoist decision has also put Helvetas, a Swiss INGO that had just started building the 80-km 'green road' connecting Myaglung to Sankranti bajar, in a difficult position. The objective of the road construction was not only to connect but also to improve the economic, social, cultural and educational conditions of the people in the 15 VDCs that it would touch. With an estimated cost of Rs 30 lakh per km, Helvetas had aimed at completing the green road within the next three years.
Kishor Chandra Dulal, former chairman of the Village Development Committee of Terathum, says, "This negative attitude of the Maoists toward development activities has created problems for road construction in the Atrai area." After the warning from the rebels, 293 community forest areas, dalit awareness organisations, environment development programs for the empowerment of the people and many others also face setbacks.
The 30 NGOs registered with the Terathum NGO Federation had set aside a budget of Rs 150,000 for development activities in the area. Now, since the budget cannot be used, all the plans and efforts of the people will go to waste.