Long and tough journey eases for Bakerwals with transport facility


Sajid Raina

Srinagar, Apr 12 (KNO): With the temperature beginning to rise in the plains of Jammu, nomadic Bakerwal community have started seasonal migration towards the upper reaches of Kashmir.

The tradition of seasonal tribal migration has been surviving for centuries and nomadic tribes, mainly Bakerwal people, migrate to their summer destinations in the first week of April every year. They reach their destinations after a month-long travel trudging through mountains and meadows. But the authorities are now offering them a transport facility to cover long distances in less time and safely.

In order to facilitate the biannual migration of tribal pastoral families and their livestock from Jammu to Kashmir via the National Highway and Mughal road, 100 trucks have been dispatched to the districts. This process, known as transhumance, is a traditional practice that has been followed by these communities for generations.

An official told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that the trucks will provide essential support for the families and their livestock during the arduous journey.

He said that the transportation system put in place by the authorities has reduced the travel time from 20-30 days on-foot to 1-2 days while it has also helped in smooth traffic management.

“These trucks have been deployed both on National Highway-44 and Mughal Road. More trucks are being inducted this year by the department to ensure coverage of 100% families,” he said.

He said that this will help in evidence-based policy making for welfare of the Transhumant pastoral tribal population and also support international efforts for promoting sustainable development and preserving their rich culture.

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He said that the seasonal migration of pastoral tribal families between villages and highland pastures provides invaluable ecosystem services and plays a vital role in rangeland management. “Despite its significance, this contribution has never been fully quantified,” he said.

“Currently, efforts are being made to document the role of the 630,000 strong transhumant population of J&K in environmental management which will involve studying the impacts of their movements on the local ecology, including soil, vegetation, and water resources,” he said.

“By understanding the contribution of these communities, it will be possible to develop policies and practices that support their traditional practices while also promoting sustainable land use practices. This will not only benefit the transhumant population but also the local ecosystems and biodiversity,” the official said—(KNO)

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