Konjyosom Rural Municpality is just 30km south of the Ring Road, but it might as well be the remotest village in the mountains of far-western Nepal.
Schools are dilapidated, the health post has no staff. Despite its proximity to the capital, Southern Lalitpur’s development indicators are much lower than the national average.
Jets fly overhead one after another on their final approach into Kathmandu airport, but here on the ground the road disappears in a pall of dust. In the rainy season the road is so muddy it is safer just to walk.
“We have a choice of breathing dust or being knee-deep in mud, it takes nearly four hours to reach the city,” says resident Pitambar Humagain, pointing out into the haze in the general direction of Kathmandu.
There is just one health post, but it has no doctor and no equipment. It has no patients either — they have to be carried to Patan Hospital for even minor ailments. Schools are in such a poor state that parents have migrated to the city so their children get a proper education.
The villages are emptying, more than 150 families from just Sankhu village have moved out in recent years, leaving locked up houses and fallow terrace fields.
“Life is so difficult, there are no jobs and we are not educated, so families are migrating out because they do not want their children to suffer the same fate,” says Manju Ghimire, weeding her maize patch.
Fifteen years ago, the only school in the village of Silinge had 65 students in a primary class. Now, there are barely 30 elementary school students and only two teachers.
Read also: Periphery within the periphery in Nepal, Kunda Dixit