The Scheduled tribe communities of Jammu and Kashmir under the banner of Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation today demanded time bound programme to eradicate poverty from nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals . They urged the State government to come up with a plan to fight "extreme adversities" faced by them due to their migratory way of life and lack of economic freedom.
The community leaders while speaking in a programme organised by the Foundation said, "It's high time for the government to come up with a concrete plan to eradicate poverty from tribal areas."
Dr Javaid Rahi in his presidential address said, "The nomadic Gujjars deserve special attention as they are facing immense hardships due to their tough standard of living, lack of economic liberty and owing to low income and lack of resources."
"A sustainable poverty eradication programme should be formulated for migratory communities of the state," he said, adding "The nomadic groups were facing the brunt of absolute paucity of resources to run daily affairs."
"We demand education and economic security for the nomadic communities in Jammu and Kashmir," the speakers said.
"For the past few decades, the tribal economy of Jammu and Kashmir faced major shakeups due to militancy in upper reaches, rapid development in plains and impact of globalisation on their livelihood," they added.
They called for a sustainable approach of the Centre and state governments towards "boosting the tribal economy" which is on the "verge of collapse".
The nomadic groups, mainly Gujjars-Bakerwals, lack the ability to afford basic human needs such as clean and fresh water, nutrition, healthcare, education, clothing and shelter.
The foundation also pleaded for an exclusive national plan to eliminate illiteracy among the nomad Gujjars, Dhodhi and Bakerwals.
Another speaker Ghulam Sarwar Chouhan said, "Equitable growth cannot be achieved without eradicating poverty and guaranteeing food security to the marginalised and isolated sections of our society, mainly the Gujjars who constitute 20 per cent of the total population of the state and more than 85 per cent of Jammu and Kashmir's total tribal population," they said.