To minimize hardship being faced by the tribal during seasonal migration, the Tribal Affairs Department on Sunday flagged off a fleet of 40 trucks for transporting livestock and families of the migratory tribal population from various districts to the highland pastures.

In line with the announcement made by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha regarding various tribal welfare measures, the department initiated a special project for a transhumant support system including transit accommodations and transport facilities for the migratory population. These trucks have been procured by the Tribal Affairs Department through J&K Road Transport Corporation.

Tribals vehicle

"This initiative has been taken on the direction of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha who has announced various steps for the welfare of tribals of J&K", Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Secretary, Tribal Affairs Department told International Bussiness Times. He said that this initiative will minimize the hardship being faced by nomads during seasonal migration. He further informed that first-time livestock of tribals have been transported in trucks to highland pastures.

Transporting livestock of tribals

Demand of tribal community fulfilled

The Jammu and Kashmir government had earlier announced the provision of transport/freight services for the migratory tribal population during the annual migration to highland pastures. There was persistent demand from the migratory tribal community that they face a lot of hardships during migration due to traffic jams and other hindrances and to make their journey smoother they should be provided some transportation mode.

It was observed that sometimes due to harsh weather conditions there was a loss of livestock and other damages causing a lot of inconvenience to the affected families. The budget announcement made by the finance minister mentioned transportation viz-a-viz transit facilities to be provided to the migratory tribal population.

The transportation system put in place by the Tribal Affairs Department will reduce the travel time from 20-30 days on foot to 1-2 days while it will also help in smooth management traffic. 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.

Special funds were released to transport tribals' livestock

Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary informed that the Lieutenant Governor has committed to providing transportation support/transit facilities to the migratory tribal population. Directions were also issued by the Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta to ensure saturation in transport facilities and to cover 100% migratory population on National Highway and Mughal Road.

Further, he said that funds to the tune of Rs 6.80 crore have been released in favour of J&K Road Transport Corporation for the procurement of trucks to provide transportation facilities to the migratory tribal families.

The Finance Department has advised the Tribal Affairs Department to avail the services of JKRTC for the movement of the transhumant tribal population till a formal policy in this regard is framed by the Government. The deployed trucks shall ply along the National Highway from Kathua, Samba, Jammu, and Udhampur to various destinations in Kashmir and on the Mughal road axis from Rajouri and Poonch to various destinations in Kashmir.

The Tribal Affairs Department is establishing transit accommodations at eight different locations for the convenience of the migratory tribal population involving financial implications of around 28-crore. Two transit accommodations are nearing completion.

J&K Govt already handed over rights to tribals under Forest Rights Act

Earlier in a historic step, the Jammu and Kashmir government handed over rights to the tribals under the Forest Rights Act. For the first time, the J&K tried to bring light to development in the lives of lakhs of tribal families by implementing the Forest Rights Act. 

Tribals in J&K to be empowered under Forest Rights Act; LG Manoj Sinha paves historic path

The UT government in coordination with the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) will establish infrastructure for collection, value addition, packaging, and distribution.

Further, to empower the youth and women a cluster of 15 tribal SHGs will be established and Rs 15 lakh will be provided per group.

On the issue of ensuring a sustainable livelihood for the youth belonging to the tribal communities, the J&K government has already announced to establish 1500 mini sheep farms, which will provide employment opportunities to 3000 youth in this financial year.