The Jammu and Kashmir government has finally taken a call on the seasonal migration of Gujjars and Bakerwals as the process has begun to let the nomadic tribes move along with their livestock to upper reaches. Director, Tribal Affairs, Saleem Khan said that the process has been started after directions were received from Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam to allow seasonal migration of tribal people to upper reaches.
He added that the orders in this regard have already been issued by District Development Commissioners and said “the migration got delayed for around 10 days that too because of the ongoing COVID 19 crisis”.
However, Dr. Javid Rahi, tribal activist and founder of Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, said the number of horses which were the primary source of transpiration, has reduced to 62,000. "The administration should allow load carriers and trucks so that they can transport their household goods to the upper reaches,” he demands.
“Number of times, a request had gone to Deputy Commissioners to allow their transportation keeping in view the size of the family so that they can also shift six months ration with them,” added Rahi. “The seasonal migrations of nomads from across Punjab via Atal Setu Bridge, Basholi onwards to Kishtwar was also allowed,” he further said. These tribal people had gone to Punjab as seasonal winter migration.
Pertinently, ending March, thousands of nomads begin their annual tryst with lakhs of sheep and goats across the Pir Panjal mountain range to reach the Kashmir valley. Every year, the herder families begin their journey to the alpine pastures for grazing during the summer, before returning to warmer Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region in October as the weather conditions worsen in the summer capital.
The tradition of nomads is more like the Durbar Move, in which Jammu and Kashmir government functions for six months each in the two capitals of the Union Territory, Jammu and Srinagar, to escape extreme climate conditions in these places.