Meanwhile, in Kashmir it’s food (in)security

Food habits coupled with PDP-NC rivalry lead to protests against NSFA implementation in J&K

aasha

Aasha Khosa | March 11, 2016 | New Delhi


#National Food Security Act   #J&K   #Jammu and Kashmir   #NSFA   #Kashmir   #Srinagar  
Women protesting against NFSA at Sathu Barbarshah in downtown Srinagar.
Women protesting against NFSA at Sathu Barbarshah in downtown Srinagar.

In recent days, Kashmir has been seething with anger. Far from greeting the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 – to be implemented in the border state from April 1 – as a safety net for the poor against hunger and malnutrition, people in the Valley are looking at it as a regime which will force them to change their food habits – from rice as a staple to a rice-wheat platter.

“We Kashmiri people are heavy rice-eaters,” says Tariq Mughal, secretary of the traders’ federation in Sopore. He says atta (wheat flour) does not fit into Kashmiris’ food habits and they find 3 kg rice (plus two kg floor) per head as very little. “This is not even in accordance with the WHO norms which say that one person should get at least 400 gm of grains per day – forget nutritional requirements, we won’t even get to fill our stomachs with this.”

Mughal recently led a protest march against the NSFA. Angry townsfolk in Tangdhar, Uri and Baramulla and in many other towns across Kashmir have also registered their protest against the law; while the separatists have called for its withdrawal. Some 15,000 people in Uri had started marching towards the line of control demanding that they be allowed to get food from across the LoC in case Delhi does not satisfy their demand for rice as against the rice-atta combine. However, army personnel deployed there prevailed upon the angry people to give up the march.

Ghats – ration shops on the banks of the Jhelum river – are closed all over the Valley in protest against the implementation of the NSFA. In fact, there is more confusion and fear and nobody is able to explain the best part of this landmark law on the state in the absence of an elected government.

Meanwhile, the man who called the extension of the NFSA to J&K a “revolutionary step” and a “game changer” is no longer around to defend it. In the December 3 cabinet meeting that turned out to be his last, chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had given a go-ahead to the extension of the NFSA in the state.

However, little did he know then that instead of being welcomed, the new PDS regime would snowball into a controversy and would leave his flustered successor – daughter Mehbooba Mufti – to defend it.

Talking about the protests, MY Tarigami, the CPM legislator from Kilgam, Kashmir, says that though the NSFA is beneficial to people as it would ensure access to grains at affordable rates to the poor people, it also lowers their entitlement of rice, which is bothering people, particularly in the Valley. “However, the fears are more notional than real and parties are also playing politics over it,” he told Governance Now over telephone.

The National Conference (NC) is clearly trying to turn this issue into a major agitation against PDP in the coming days. Mehbooba Mufti, who is understood to be toying with the idea of government formation with BJP once again, has accused the NC of evading its responsibility; first by not taking a decision on NFSA and now by carrying out a ‘disinformation campaign’.

Governor NN Vohra’s administration says that the protests are more due to the fact that a lot of people are worried about getting exposed for having bogus ration cards. “We have already cancelled 2 lakh bogus cards and had also deleted about 3.75 lakh cards of the creamy layer which included senior bureaucrats, ministers, legislators and farmers with large land holdings,” said an official.

As protests continue in Kashmir when people in Jammu and Ladakh regions are taking NSFA in their stride, analysts feel that lack of an elected government was leading to a disinformation campaign and people being misled.

“People would have to be made aware that a lot of poor people will get cheap food for Rs 2-3 per kilo as entitlement while those with means would be excluded from it,” said a political activist not willing to be named.

Comments

 

Other News

Can the JD(S)-Congress combine give stable government in Karnataka?

Can the JD(S)-Congress combine give stable government in Karnataka?

Making palliative care child’s play

Sneha Sena is a unique attempt to integrate education and healthcare by bringing school children into the field of palliative care. In Kerala’s Alappuzha district, a government medical officer has decided to create an army of student volunteers to be part of the government’s pain

An African salient

To counter Beijing’s aggressive agenda in the Indian Ocean, New Delhi is seeking to create strategic bastions in Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar. The immediate provocation was China’s inauguration of its first overseas military base in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa.

Look who’s talking ethics in Karnataka?

 Just after the UP assembly election in 1996, I was among the scores of reporters waiting at Kalyan Singh’s residence, waiting to get the first inkling of the future course of the BJP. The party had secured the maximum seats – 174 out of 425 seats – but was short of the majority mark

Company secretaries are gatekeepers of corporate governance: SEBI Chairman

“Company Secretaries, once known as secretaries to the board and management, have transformed themselves into key managerial and governance professionals. Today they are recognised for their importance on corporate landscape and have become gatekeepers of corporate governance,” said Ajay Tyagi,

Will there be light at the end of the tunnel?

Any good news which promises to bring about qualitative improvement in the lives of people, especially in rural India, is always welcome. It was heartening indeed to learn that every single village in the country now has access to electricity, as announced by the prime minister on April 29. This is most ce

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter