Flagship and Firsts for Facilitation: Govt’s transport service benefits 12,000 nomadic families in a month

Service extended for 2 more weeks
Nomads move along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway near Ramban District amid the season of their migration from highland pastures of Kashmir to the warmer area of Jammu as the winter approaches in the region, on 15.OCT.2022.
Nomads move along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway near Ramban District amid the season of their migration from highland pastures of Kashmir to the warmer area of Jammu as the winter approaches in the region, on 15.OCT.2022. Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government’s flagship initiatives to facilitate the biannual movement of migratory tribal families from highland pastures in Kashmir to villages and plains in Jammu province completed a month on Tuesday, setting a record for the number of families benefitted.

An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that the initiative initially launched for a month till October 25 had been extended further till all registered families return.

The Tribal Affairs Department (TAD) in September notified the schedule for providing free transport service to migratory tribal families from highland pastures in Kashmir to Jammu beginning September 25.

Dedicated helplines were set up in the respective district administrations and a central IVRS Call Centre-based helpline of the department.

Nodal officers were appointed at the district level and the availability of transport facilities was announced on the radio for dissemination of information in highland summer pastures.

Transhumance, the migration of ethnic tribal families between winter and summer pastures, is a geo-political phenomenon observed in nearly 20 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and some parts of America.

J&K has the world’s largest population of transhumant or migratory tribal families as per the 1st Survey of Transhumance conducted by the Tribal Affairs Department in 2021 recorded a 6.12 lakh population.

The J&K government introduced the transportation service for migratory tribal families in April-May this year, covering the journey on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, Mughal Road, and other major roads.

A fleet of 40 trucks was provided by the government.

In September, the service was initiated with more than 300 trucks and several vehicles hired by the Deputy Commissioners as per the number of families registered.

Several hundred families returning from Kargil in Ladakh were also provided service.

LG Manoj Sinha, earlier this year, announced the launch of a scheme for providing transport facilities to the migratory tribal population in J&K.

Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta revised the plan of the Tribal Affairs Department for transportation support and recently the State Administrative Council (SAC) approved the proposal as a policy to be implemented twice a year during migration for which funds had been earmarked in the budget of the department.

The service is being provided through J&K Road Transport Corporation and Deputy Commissioners (DCs) had been authorised for hiring additional vehicles as per the requirement.

Secretary of the Tribal Affairs Department, Shahid Choudhary said that till 2021 no data on transhumance was available, depriving a huge tribal population of welfare schemes and development.

“Based on the survey, several initiatives and schemes were planned and rolled out in a very short time. The free transport facility is one of these," he said complementing the role played by DCs, nodal officers, and JKRTC as the transportation mission completed a month on Tuesday.

Choudhary also appreciated the vital role played by Police, Revenue, Sheep Husbandry Department, Rural Development Department, and Traffic Police in making the initiative a success.

He said that in the past month around 12,000 tribal families had been provided the transportation service which included transportation of livestock and household goods.

“Districts have reported transportation of more than 1.89 lakh animals so far and the date for transportation has been extended which was earlier for a month. The DCs have been authorised to carry on the service till all families reach back in Jammu from various areas of Kashmir,” Choudhary said.

He said that the Tribal Affairs Department also rolled out the transit facilities network for the migratory population to be put in place through the respective district administrations.

“DC Pulwama and DC Shopian have supervised the completion of three TTAs while five are expected to be completed in Ramban, Udhampur, Poonch, and Rajouri as per the revised timeline. The department has also introduced various technology-based services to ease the migration and make efforts towards sustainable development goals,” Choudhary said.

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