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‘Declining livestock population’ will impact livelihood of Gujjars , Bakarwals : Javaid Rahi

Jammu, June 27, 2021: Noted tribal researcher Dr. Javaid Rahi today stated that a  steep decline in  livestock population in Jammu and Kashmir  will reversely  impact on the livelihood of Tribal Gujjars and Bakarwals at large. While speaking about the ‘livestock census’ report released recently by Govt of India ,  he expressed  concerns that the economy of Tribal groups especially the Gujjars and Bakarwals -whose is primarily based on animal rearing is under huge pressures.

Addressing  a virtual programme of awareness organized by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation  on ” Livestock and Dairy Farming’  he impressed upon tribal animal herders to come forward and invest in livestock the sector of the Jammu and Kashmir  to reap the benefits of the high potential sector and contribute to the Jammu and Kashmir economy.

Expressing concerns over the outcome of Livestock Census 2019, public recently by Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying suggested that the “Livestock population is dipped by 3.4 percent and is down from 19th livestock census conducted in 2012. He asked Gujjar Bakarwals to link livestock with their economy.

Quoting census report he said  the sheep population is decline by -4.19 in Jammu & Kashmir from  3.4 Million in 2012 to  3.2  Millions 2019 as against big demand of mutton. The population of horses and ponies is decreased by -56.17  which was 1.44 Lakhs  in Jammu & Kashmir in 2012 and in 2019 it reduces to 0.63  Lakhs and the Mules  population is declined in Jammu &  Kashmir by -54.20  as the population of Mules was  0.37  lakhs in 2012 and in 2019 it was just  0.17 lakh, he quoted the report.

He asked the tribal communities who are the custodian of animals  to  preserve old species of animals  include cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, horse, camel, dog, pony/ mule, donkey  besides poultry birds while  trying other  species for better outcome.

Dr. Rahi also spoke about the challenges being faced by the tribal communities who are attached to the livestock sectors in the Jammu and Kashmir. He said Forest Rights Act -2006 is under implementation in Jammu and Kashmir which will help the tribes and other forest dwellers to live with dignity in the areas that belongs to them for centuries. He said non-availability of fodder at low rates, Closers of revenue and forest lands, encroachments on grazing lands, conflict are the main causes of decline which impacted the livestock population.

He appealed, authorities to formulate a committee to look into these issues as it will impact on tribal economy  in particular and state economy in general.

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