Hit by snowfall Gujjar-Bakerwal facing fodder deficit

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Demand compensation for livestock loss

Jammu, Sep 16: Hit by unprecedented snowfall in the higher reaches during last few days -the nomad Gujjars and Bakerwals in Jammu and Kashmir have started shifting to plain areas close to habituated villages in all the three region Jammu , Kashmir and Ladakh .This was stated in a programme organised by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation- a frontal organisation of Tribe held here to look into the current issues of tribes of the State.
Tribal researcher Dr. Javed Rahi, who presided over a programme here, attended by nomadic communities’ representatives, to discuss consequences of the issue, said that tribal Gujjar and Bakarwal (goat-herds) raise cattle, goats, sheep and horses, and are the main animal rearing communities of the state.
He stated that at present a big chunk of Gujjars and Bakerwals – the main tribal communities are in upper reaches in connection with annual tribal migration where they have faced unprecedented dip in temperature due to sudden snowfall and rains. He said, in result they have lost a number of animals and now they have no option but move towards warmer areas , as the grass and other fodder came under snow.
He appealed local administration to help the tribal in this extraordinary situation which arises due to unusual climate change.
The speakers said due to snowfall and heavy rains in upper reaches of North -western Himalaya including Pirpacanchal, Zojila , Trikuta hills -the Gujjars – Bakerwals are facing extreme deficit of fodder for their animals .
They said, reportedly around 100 livestock found died only in Baramulla district due to unusual weather. As per reports lightning struck a shed in Uri in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir killing at least 100 livestock, including sheep, goats, horses and dogs. The speakers demanded compensation for all the affected families.
The speakers said not only this year but every year the nomads faces natural calamity and they demanded that state government should start an insurance scheme for animals enabling the tribes to tackle such drastic weather issue and push ahead their life and run their livelihood.