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Heavy military presence constrains livelihood in Kashmir

Srinagar, September 24, 2007:

Lack of access to highland pastures due to heavy military presence in Indian administered Kashmir has constrained traditional livelihood and increased dependency on costly imports, says a report on climate change in Kashmir.

‘On the brink’ a 28-page report on climate change and its impact in Kashmir published by Actionaid International, an NGO working in over 40 countries says that the heavy presence of Indian troops in some highland pastures was playing havoc with livelihood of Kashmiris.

The report is authored by NGO’s project manager Kashmir, Arjimand Hussain Talib.

“Against revenue of INR 20 billion from the horticulture sector, Kashmir’s imports of mutton, milk and poultry have risen to a whopping INR 160 billion crore annually from different Indian states,” Talib said.

The report says that the impact of climate change has also contributed its bit in reducing the capacity of the local rural economy to produce these essential commodities.

The report in its recommendations has called for a new pasture management policy, guided by the current socio-economic needs and geo-political scenario.

A large number of highland pastures are currently out of reach for the shepherds due to heavy presence of Indian troops.

According to estimates around 700000 Indian troopers are stationed in Kashmir fighting anti Indian insurgency.

The report also reveals that the deficit in food production in Kashmir valley region has reached 40 per cent putting food security to a greater risk. The food deficit was just 23 per cent in 1980-81.

However, experts termed the import figures of INR 16000 crore given by the NGO as “exaggerated”.



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