JK News Today
Jammu, December 25
Over 15000 cattle have perished this year in hilly areas of Jammu and Kashmir due to scarcity of water and fodder forcing nomads–Gujjars and Bakerwals, who own them, to shift to low lying areas close to towns and cities where water and cattle feed is available.
According to a handout of Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation- a main organisation representing nomadic tribes insufficient rainfall in upper reaches has caused drought like situation forcing Guajjars and Bakerwals to shift along with their cattle from hills.
The Foundation organised a programme in this connection aimed to discuss 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 -the main animal raring community of the state facing acute shortage fodders and water in many areas , due to deficiency of rain, during last few months. The water resources in hilly areas are drying down rapidly, he said and added that as a 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 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 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 help them.