Sheep rearing business being revived in Kathua

Monday, August 2, 2010

KATHUA - People in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua District are returning to the sheep rearing business, as turmoil has subsided in the region.

Shepherds living in the green pastures of Shivalik ranges connecting the Kathua and Doda districts have regained their livelihood following a long span of turmoil.

“After militant activities have lessened, we have been getting benefits. Earlier we could not take our sheep out of the houses for grazing in the hills because of militant activities. So we stayed in our houses and waited for the situation to become normal. But now we are not facing any problem,” said Dharam Chand, a shepherd.

According to the district’s Sheep Husbandry Officer, Vinod Bhutyal, there were 18,000 to 19,000 shepherds with nearly 6,35,000 sheep and goats including migratory as well as stationary sheep in the area.

Earlier, following the critical situation in the mountain range their livelihood was affected, and more than 5000 shepherds were forced to quit their traditional profession of sheep husbandry.

“Before militancy, the sheep and goat population of this district was around 6,35,000. But during militancy it declined slowly to 3.5 lakhs. Today, as things have become normal, we have touched the point of 5,35,000. In the times to come, we will try our best that we cross the highest number at which we last reached, and more and more people are involved in this business,” said Bhutyal.

Earlier, the militants used to hide in the grazing pastures and tortured and killed the shepherds.

The government has taken action against militants and financial help are being provided to the shepherds to increase number of livestock. By Pradeep Sharma (ANI)

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