UK tribals survive on chinese foodgrain


Short supply of government ration appears to have forced tribals in some border villages of Uttarakhand’s Kumaon region to depend on Chinese foodgrain bought from Nepalese markets.

“The quota of ration supplied by the state government falls short of our requirements. So much so that some of the villagers have had to depend on Chinese foodgrain bought from markets in Nepal,” tribal leader Krishna Garbiyal said on Friday.

He was part of a delegation of Vyas valley villagers who met Dharchula SDM on Friday to demand an increased supply of ration under the Public Distribution System (PDS).
Villagers cross a bridge over the Kali river near Garbiyang which connects India with Nepal and buy rations from the markets of Tinkar and Changru villages of the neighbouring country to fulfill their needs, he said.

“The government allocates five kg of wheat and two kg of rice per month to each family which is far from enough. We have demanded several times to increase the ration quota for families residing in high altitudes as these areas do not grow grains such as wheat or paddy,” Garbiyal said.
The villagers said apart from the insufficient quota of ration, even their allotted amount had not reached them in time. They had received their last ration before the onset of the monsoon. A 49 km-stretch from Mangti to Gunji was being repaired for nearly six months which made the practice of sending ration on mules to the villages very difficult this year.

“Over 72.5 quintal of ration were sent to Vyas valley villages by helicopters before the monsoon began. The ration for October, November and December are yet to be sent to the villages,” Dharchula SDM RK Pandey said.

With the road route under repairs, the administration had to depend on helicopters to transport ration to villages, he said. He said the administration was also in contact with the Army to avail its helicopters for the purpose. The absence of a proper road route was also likely to delay the winter migration of the villagers to lower areas, Garbiyal said.

In a memorandum submitted to the SDM, the villagers demanded an increase in quota of ration. They also demanded continuation of the helicopter service, which was for Kailash Mansoravar yatra tourists, so that ration could be supplied to the villages and the residents could migrate to the lower valley.

The service was closed after the pilgrimage’s conclusion last month.

“Either the under-construction road be completed from Lakhanpur to Nazang, or cheap helicopter service be extended to November 18 to speed up the supply of ration and to enable the Vyas valley tribals to come down to the lower valley for migration,” said Kushal Singh Napalchayal, a villager who led the delegation.

According to Napalchayal, over 2,000 villagers from five villages of Gunji, Napalchu, Rongkong, Nabi and Kuti will migrate from high-altitude villages to their lower valley residences from November first week. “The villagers need ration even for the months of November, December as they stack it away for the summer months when they return to their homes March onwards,” Napalchyal said. — PTI


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