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Gujjars for treating nomads as BPL, demand food security

Excelsior Correspondent
RAJOURI, Feb 5: The Gujjars and Bakerwals   of Jammu and Kashmir today sought inclusion of all the migratory nomadic tribes in Below Poverty Line population and demanded food security to them.
The community elders, while participating in a program organized by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, pleaded that the migratory tribes are facing tremendous problems and deserve special attention of State authorities. The program was presided over by reputed Tribal Scholar Dr Javaid Rahi while a number of community members also participated.
Dr Javaid Rahi stated that the main issue of migratory nomads is that they have not approached any Government agency to include them in BPL list   during the survey as they were under seasonal migration when the last BPL survey was held in the State. He also pleaded for a provision under NFSA on the prototype of United Nation’s World Food Program run to combat malnutrition among sedentary and non sedentary groups to invest in human resources.
He said around 6 Lakh nomadic tribes mainly Gujjars- Bakerwal, Gadii, Sippi and Changpa migrate annually along with their cattle to upper reaches since centuries. They are not available at one place like other communities to take ration and other benefits. He said an innovative scheme for nomads  should be launched before implementing the Act.
Due to their wandering way of life the tribes are not only feeling food insecurity but they also face acute shortage of basic facilities, absolute illiteracy and lack of health facilities, the speakers said. The NFSA, if implemented with new approach, in tribes, properly,  will change their economy in next few years, speakers said.
The speakers said equitable growth of country and State cannot be achieved without eradicating poverty by guaranteeing of food security to hitherto marginalized and isolated sections of our society, mainly the nomad Gujjars.
Others who spoke on the occasion included Rafi Saqi, G Rasool Chechi, Din Mohammad Chokar, Aleem ud Din Chowdhary, Dr Irshad Ahmed, Nazir Ahmad Khatana, Warast Ali etc.

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