Chepang community facing acute food scarcity

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By Our Correspondent,Hetauda, June 12: The Chepang-dominated settlements of Chitwan, Dhading and Makwanpur districts have been facing an acute shortage of food grains. They were hit hard as maize production decreased due to drought and forest fires. 

After they started running out of food grains, they have been living on wild fruits, roots and ferns, stinging nettle and gruel for survival. Not only the food crisis but a shortage of drinking water has also hit this community hard.

Govinda Ram Chepang, Central President of Nepal Chepang Association, said that Chepang settlements of Makwanpur, Chitwan and Dhading districts have been facing a shortage of food grains and children of this community are malnourished and the government has not paid attention to this serious issue. 

Now, the Chepang community in Raksirang Rural Municipality, Kailash Rural Municipality and Rapti Municipality of Makawanpur, Ward No. 11, 12 and 13, Kalika Municipality Ward No.12 and 13, do not have enough subsistence food. 

Similarly, the Chepang community of Ichha Kamana Municipality Ward Nos. 11 and 12 in Chitwan and Benighat Rorang Rural Municipality Ward Nos. 6, 7 and 8 in Dhading district are facing acute shortage of food, he said. 

The risk of starvation is increasing among the people of this community, so the government should resolve this problem as soon as possible, he said.

In the support of Nepal Shushma Pushpa Samaj of Narayangadh, food grains were distributed to 150 families of Raksirang Rural Municipality Ward No. 6 on Sunday.    

One sack of rice and two kg pulse each was distributed to 150 households in the presence of the Ward Chairperson Akkal Bahadur Moktan, executive member of Raksirang Municipal Committee Singalal Chepang and chairman of Silinge Community Forest Consumer Group, Krishna Lal Tamang.  

Govinda Ram Chepang, Central President of the Nepal Chepang Association, said that villagers are hit hard by food scarcity, and the food grain distributed on Sunday was insufficient, he said.

A meeting of the Chepang Association held on Saturday also reviewed the issue of food shortage in the Chepang settlement. He said that the current problem has arisen because the local government has not brought special programmes targeting the areas.

Daily wage earners, family members of migrant workers and the elderly that rely on social security allowance are facing great difficulty.

On Sunday, 150 sacks of rice, 300 kg of pulses and 300 liters of oil were distributed to 80 families of Raksirang Rural Municipality Ward No. 7, and 70 families of Ward No. 8 Maisirang, Devitar, Laisira and Jirkhedada.  

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