FIRDOUS UL ISLAM/ Owais Farooqi
SRINAGAR: Consumers in Kashmir Valley protested on Tuesday against the implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA) in the state.
The resident of Abi-Guzar and Bar Bar Shah localities in this summer capital of the state termed the legislation as “anti people”.
They said they were not being provided rice at the ration depots despite its availability.
“We oppose NFSA. It is a policy to deny us food-grains. How can a family survive on 5 kilograms of rice a month? This is pitiable,” they said.
The residents said implementing NFSA was not justified when the state doesn’t produce enough for the entire population.
“Implementing NFSA under such circumstances is cruel,” a protester said.
Last year, the PDP-BJP coalition approved the implementation of NFSA in the state. The Act subsequently came into force on February 15, 2016.
In north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, the consumers refused to accept the rations offered to them at the depots under NFSA.
“We will protest to have it revoked,” Ghulam Mohammed, a consumer, said.
Later in the day, a number of people from various localities took to streets against the Act’s implementation.
They termed the Act as “barbaric” and blamed the PDP-BJP coalition, which implemented the Act in 2015, for putting the people in “misery”.
Most depots around Bandipora had to close for the day in view of the protests.
Assistant director concerned of the Consumer Affairs and Pubic Distribution (CAPD) department, Shariq Iqbal, said there was “some confusion” in people that forced consumers to refuse the rations.
“There seems some confusion and lack of awareness in public. So, I personally went up to them and talked to people, after which they turned up to get the rations,” he said, admitting that consumers at “some places” refused to accept the rations provided to them.
On Monday, Residents of Watlar area of Lar tehsil had also protested against the Act’s implementation.
The protesters had forced deputy commissioner Ganderbal, Showket Ajaz, and tehsildar Lar to leave the inauguration function held in the central Kashmir district.
The protesters were demanding more than 5kg of rice per family.
There were reports of protests from other areas of Ganderbal as well.