Jammu and Kashmir Gujjars plea UN for food Security under WFP

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Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir), Mar 14 (ANI): In a significant move against poverty, the Scheduled Tribes Gujjars of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday appealed the United Nation to provide food security to more than six lakh nomadic families of their tribe under "World Food Programme" (WFP) as they are suffering from intense food-deficit due to low-income and deficiency of resources.

In a written request to UN Secretary General with an appeal to Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of "World Food Programme" (WFP) sent through Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation-a frontal organization of Gujjars it was urged upon to cover the nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals residing in Kashmir under UN Food Programme for India.

Tribal Foundation Secretary Javaid Rahi providing details said in our letter to UN, we have mentioned that a substantial chunk of nomadic population of Gujjars and Bakerwals are facing acute food-insecurity in the state and an immediate help is required for a majority of tribal people consume less than 80 percent of minimum energy requirements.

Quoting the letter, he further said there is an urgent need for an exclusive National or International action plan and policy for ensuring a sustainable food security to nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals with a programme to eliminate poverty-induced chronic hunger among tribes.

Rahi said that even "Economic Survey of Jammu and Kashmir 2010"-a government document tabled in state Assembly last week says that more than 42 percent population of Scheduled Tribe population majority of them belongs to Gujjars and Bakerwals lives under Below Poverty line, adding that it is high time to categories them under groups covered by United Nation under World Food Programme aimed to combat malnutrition and to invest in human resources.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food aid branch of the United Nations, and the world's largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger worldwide.

WFP provides food, on average, to 90 million people per year, 58 million of whom are children. From its headquarters in Rome and more than 80 country offices around the world including India, WFP works to help people who are unable to produce or obtain enough food for themselves and their families.

Rahi further said that it is mentioned in the later that in tribal Gujjars nearly nine out of 10 pregnant women aged between 15 and 49 years suffer from malnutrition and anaemia. Anaemia in pregnant women causes more than 30 percent of infant mortality. More than half of the children under five are moderately or severely malnourished, or suffer from stunting.

Besides food insecurity and poverty, the tribe also suffers due to over all discrimination and neglect, unhygienic living condition, of lack of literacy, basic amenities and health care in the state.

In the letter to the UN, it has been mentioned that "the equitable growth of country and state cannot be achieved without guaranteeing food security to hitherto marginalised and isolated sections of our society, mainly the Gujjars of the state who constitute 20 percent total populations of the state and more than 85 percent of Jammu and Kashmir's total tribal population". By: Tahir Nadeem Khan (ANI)

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