TSL NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, May 3: Tribal scholar Dr Javaid Rahi represented Gujjar-Bakerwal tribes of Jammu and Kashmir in a ‘National Policy Consultation’ programme held on ‘Temperate-Alpine Grasslands of Himalayan’ organised by Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bengaluru -a Govt body, with the support of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.
The event began on 29th April, 2019 at Sidkeong Tulku Forest Conference Hall, Forest Secretariat, Deorali, Gangtok, Sikkim for two days. The main objective of this programme was to prepare a draft of national policy to regulate temperate-alpine grasslands in Indian Himalaya – which constitute a major geographical area of the country, and are spread across the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.
Dr Javaid Rahi while speaking on the topic stated Gujjars/ Bakerwals being pastoralists are the main stakeholder of grasslands. Talking about the issues being fronted by the nomadic communities of Jammu and Kashmir – he stated that grazing lands must not be converted for any other purpose. He said that though grazing has been, and continues to be, a controversial issue in the regions due to lack of laws J&K KAHACHARAI Act 1954 amended in 2011 provides some rights to nomads to use grazing lands. But it requires total revamp with the consultation of tribes of the state.
He said tribal of J&K deserves extension of similar rights as enjoyed by the tribal communities of other states of India. He added that like Indian Tribes they must be given rights on JAL (water) JANGAL (Forests) and ZAMEEN (land) as committed.
He gave various suggestion/inputs to ATREE and Ministry Officials with regards to compiling information on the conservation and livelihood values of temperate-alpine grasslands and to promote the conservation of grazing lands for sustainable use of mitigatory communities.