Unusually low temperature on the hilly and mountainous tracks of north-western Himalayas have led lakhs of nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals to start returning to the plains along with their livestock ahead of usual time.
Attributing it to acute shortage of fodder due to sudden fall in temperature at the higher reaches, the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, a frontal organisation of Gujjars-Bakerwals, here on Sunday said that grass at high land pastures in the Valley and Pir Panchal areas of Jammu region have dried up due to extremely low temperature.
Though tribal migration to greener pastures on mountainous areas in Jammu Kashmir and neighbouring Himachal Pradesh during summer and their return to the plains during winter is an annual feature, it has been the first time that the nomadic community has started returning to warmer areas of the state in the plains. Normally, their reverse migration from upper reaches to the plains begin in mid-October, pointed out the Foundation secretary Dr Javed Rahi.
“This year, the Gujjars and Bakerwals had to return from Shivalik, Pir Panjal and Zojela mountains ranges of Western Himalayas to plain areas in first week of September which is quite unusual,” Rahi said, adding that it usually takes 40 to 50 days for a tribal family to migrate from hilly areas to a warmer area along with their livestock.
(With PTI inputs)