J&K government Saturday issued an advisory for nomadic Gujjar-Bakerwal community, restricting their movement through COVID19 red zones.
The advisory issued by the department of Sheep HusbandryKashmir, instructs the nomadic tribes to "avoid moving through red zonesdeclared by J&K government in the wake of coronavirus spread."
As per the advisory, thenomadic tribes have also been asked to avoid making children, elderly personsand women part of their caravans this season. "All can join them only after thepandemic is over," the advisory reads.
"Traversing the long distances from different areas ofJ&K, they (Gujjars, Bakerwals) are hereby advised to establish separatetransit camps en route their migration. Intermingling of transit camps shouldaltogether be avoided," reads the advisory.
Use of protective facemasks and social distancing duringmigration has been stressed.
Director, Department of Sheep Husbandry Kashmir, Abdul SalamMir told Greater Kashmir that the advisory will be communicated to thenomadic tribes with help of field officers of various departments. "Althoughthe peak season for migration of Gujjar-Bakerwals community is June but as asafety measure we have issued the advisory with of dos and don'ts," Mir said.
Mir said the department will set up first aid campsbeginning May 15 at various transit routes for the wellbeing of the livestock.
Mir said apart from Gujjar-Bakerwal community, the advisoryissued has also listed dos and don'ts for the sheep farmers and "chopans" whotake livestock for grazing.
"We are trying to create awareness through word of mouththat at high land pastures, the chopans strictly follow the guidelines onhygiene like washing of hands with soap before and after contact with animalsso as to avoid transmission of infection," Mir said.
He said helpline numbers of officials from the AnimalHusbandry department have been issued to provide guidance to the community.
The sheep farmers havealso been asked that while handing over livestock to the chopans they mustavoid Red Zones especially in the Hajin area of Bandipora, which has proved tobe a major cluster of the Covid-19 positive cases.
When contacted, Muhammad Saleem Khan, Director TribalAffairs told Greater Kashmir that the department will be making allefforts to create awareness among the nomadic tribes regarding the fightagainst Covid-19.
"The advisory from the government will be followed strictly.With help of Deputy Commissioners of various districts and other fieldofficials, we have started asking the nomads that they should use the nearestlocated pastures instead of travelling long distances for migration," Khansaid.
Khan said during the interactions with the nomadic tribe,field officers of the department have found out that the Gujjar Bakerwalcommunity is well aware about the threats posed by Covid-19.