Manoj Sinha’s bid to build bridges with tribal in J&K

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, October 12: After Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah promised reservation for the pastoral communities – Bakarwal, Pahari, and Gujjar, lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha is bracing up to make further economic bridges with tribal. The Union Territory is planning to unveil a slew of initiatives such as social security scheme for sheep breeders, health cards and others.

The pastoral communities for whom Shah promised reservation facilities are essentially in sheep rearing works. The J&K administration is seeking to extend facilities for the sheep breeding and their rearing to enhance the income of the people belonging to the pastoral communities. The Bharatiya Janata Party is hoping to gain from the outreach to the pastoral communities in the Assembly elections to be held most likely next year.

“The J&K administration is taking steps for improving the living standards of the members of the tribal community. In order to boost the economic conditions of tribal people, the Government is working to increase livestock productivity and production in a sustainable manner with focus on untapped potential for the export and value added products,” said a senior official.

He said that the UT administration is planning to bring out a social security scheme for sheep breeders with a provision of insurance cover to the livestock. “A comprehensive policy for health cards and monitoring of health for disease prevention and control measures for livestock is also on the anvil,” he stated.

High genetic potential and exotic breeds for crossbreeding, marketing facilities and preventive mechanism of endemic disease will form the core objectives of the policy. The UT administration claimed that 12 lakh families are dependent on sheep rearing. Jammu and Kashmir has the highest per capita consumption of sheep/goat meat in the country.

“The UT administration is building 1000 sheds for livestock of the tribal community and Tribal Affairs Department will extend the financial assistance of Rs One lakh each to 1500 Self Help Groups for Wool Shearing Machines and skilling, while 50 Self Help Groups will receive Rs 3 lakh each for GenSet and solar power-based shearing machines for Dhoks,” said the official.

The UT government has partnered with New Zealand to develop a model sheep farming system through better breeding practices, technology transfer, doubling wool and meat production, marketing, capacity building and ensuring additional income for sheep breeders. The J&K administration has also initiated transport facilities for migratory tribal families traditionally undertaking migration along the National Highway and Mughal Road.

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