Tribune News Service
Dharamsala, February 5
With Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur arriving in Palampur tomorrow, migratory shepherds have prepared a list of their demands for him. The migratory shepherds, who constitute about seven per cent population of the state, are alleging that there was no separate provision for them in the state Budget. They want that a special provision should be made for them in the state Budget.
Pawana Devi, president of the state migratory shepherd organization, while talking to The Tribune, said that there are more 20 lakh sheep and goats in the state that are reared by migratory shepherds since centuries across the plains and hills of the state. Despite the fact that these shepherds constitute a significant part of state’s population and contribute to the state’s economy there was no special provision in state budget for them. “We will urge the Chief Minister to make special provision for migratory shepherds in the state Budget”, she said.
- Shepherds said the biggest challenge being faced by them was that they were fast losing traditional pastures to development projects and strict forest policies
- The shepherds should not be barred from entering into any forest area while on their migratory routes
- A gang was active in lower areas and its members are involved in stealing of their sheep and goats
- As migratory shepherds are constantly on move a mobile dispensary can provide medical assistance to them
She further said the biggest challenge being faced by the traditional shepherd community was that it was fast losing traditional pastures to the development projects and strict forest policies. The state government should envision its development projects keeping in view the traditional rights of the migratory shepherds.
Besides, the shepherds have rights over the forests of the state and they should not be barred from entering into any forest area while on their migratory routes, she said.
Pawana Devi said a gang was active in lower areas of the state and its members are involved in stealing of sheep and goats when they migrate to lower areas. Some of the gang members were arrested by the police but released because of insufficient evidence. The government should take strict action against the gang was that involved in looting cattle wealth from migratory shepherds of the state, he said.
She said that the migratory shepherds of the state have been demanding since long from the animal husbandry demand that mobile veterinary dispensary should be provided to them as many shepherds lost their cattle wealth due to foot rot disease. Since the migratory shepherds are constantly on move only a mobile dispensary can provide medical assistance to them.