Tuesday, November 21, 2017
 
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Hit by drought, Gujjars-Bakerwals shifting closer to urban centres


Jammu, November 12, (Scoop News)- Hit by drought in Jammu and Kashmir the nomadic Gujjars Bakerwal families living in hills of north western Himalaya started shifting along with their cattle towards down areas nearer to cities and towns, in search of cattle feed and water. An leading organisation of community - Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation- said that nomads living in hilly areas are facing extreme deficit of fodder for their animal, due to insufficiency of rainfall.

The Foundation organised a programme in this connection aimed to discuss the consciences of the issue , which was presided over by noted tribal researcher Dr. Javaid Rahi and attended by nomadic communities representatives.

Dr. Javaid Rahi, in his presidential address stated that Gujjars and Bakerwals of hilly areas of the state facing acute shortage fodders and water, due to deficiency of rain, during last five months. The water resources in hilly areas are drying down rapidly, he said and added in result the nomads along with their animals are shifting to other areas .He further said that some other states of India which are facing similar situations have supplied cattle feed and fodder at nominal cost extending them 90 per cent subsidy to nomads and tribal .He urged for akin steps from state for J&K tribes.

He said , as per 18th livestock census 2007 conducted in the country, the J&K State has 34.43 lakh cattle , mainly were being looked after by Gujjars and Bakerwals - which includes 10.5 lakh buffaloes, 20.63 lakh goats, 36.85 lakh sheep, 1.05 lakh horses, others and added that these numbers have significantly increased . He said, feeding these huge number of animals in this situation by the tribal communities is a big challenge and urged that government to come forward and rescue them.

“The situation is worsening as the crippling drought persists and most of the tribal are struggling to stay afloat , Khadam Hassain Banya a speaker said. He said we urge the government to intervene immediately to save the situation, and added failing to do so will result in undesired consequences.
He warned that unless there was further government intervention‚ their struggles would continue.

“tribal and their live stock are suffering since last few months due to continuous drought and looks like the situation will continue into 2017, said a speaker of the programme.He said , some animals have been reportedly died due to this situation.

We have not yet been able to confirm how many animals have died yet‚ however‚ in January the reported animal death toll was more than 15 000.

The other speakers demanded that relief be provided to drought-hit families.

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