CHITWAN, May 27: The Chepang people residing in hilly part of Chitwan are finding it difficult to manage a two square meal. Having a plate of rice in lunch is just a dream for them. Filling empty stomach with whatever they could manage is their utmost concern these days.
Pahalman Chepang of Korak of Rapti Municipality-10 said food crisis has gripped the entire Chepang settlement. Chepangs are the tribal group who primitively survive on forest products such wild fruits, leaves, tubers and roots. "Our storehouse is empty and wild fruits and roots are also unavailable here in this season," Pahalman tells the story.
Kopila Chepang of Kaule said food crisis is a common fate of the Chepang people. As Padam Bahadur Chepang said, the problem is not a new one. "Instead, it is the situation we face for six months in a year." According to him, food storage had already emptied and harvest season is yet to arrive.
Ward No 6 Chair at Ichhamanakamana Rural Municipality Bhupendra Chepang said no one in the village is unaffected by the shortage of food in this season. Discussions are underway to find alternatives for livelihood in this period, he added.
Life becomes tougher here during a period from mid May to mid July as harvest time is awaited and kitchen gardens turn into desert field. Wild fruits are also not available. Crops and grains in storehouse are sufficient only for just six months in a year.
Chepangs survive on forest products, meager soup and gruel managed through loan until the harvest time of maize crops arrives, according to local Chepang leader Laxman Chepang.
In the past, they used to cultivate foxtail millet in this season for subsistence, but of late, they quit it due to low production. The district is home to 28,363 Chepang population and over fifty percent do not have their own land. RSS