June 1, 2010 2:04:50 am
Nearly two dozen people are missing while thousands of sheep,goat and other livestock have perished in unprecedented snowfall which caught lakhs of Gujjars and Bakerwals unawares on the north western Himalayas,which divide Jammu region from Kashmir valley.
Quoting reports received from some people who returned midway following the snowfall on Margi Top,Additional Deputy Commissioner Ghulam Nabi told The Indian Express that a group of 20-25 people along with their livestock had gone from Margi Top in Warwan area of Kishtwar towards Jabbal Kadal near Kargil. However,while their horses along with their belongings returned to Margi Top,there was no trace of the people. We have sent police parties there, he said.
Joint columns of Army doctors,civilian veterinary doctors,besides police personnel and revenue officials were airlifted to Warwan areas to launch relief and rescue operations. They were led by an officer of the rank of Assistant Commissioner Revenue,he said,adding that exact situation would be known only after a day or two when parties sent by road also reached there.
Meanwhile,Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation,an organisation of Gujjars and Bakerwals in the state,said over 100 nomads had been missing at different places and nearly 30,000 live stock perished so far. Thousands of families belonging to the nomadic community were trapped at different places on various mountainous ranges due to heavy rain and snowfall.
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Kishtwar Senior Superintendent of Police Haseeb Mughal confirmed that 3,000 sheep,goat and other livestock have perished between Marwah and Warwan while another 150 were reported to have died in Paddar.
Divisional Commissioner,Jammu,Pawan Kotwal made an aerial survey of the affected areas to take stock of the situation.
Meanwhile,a Defence Ministry spokesman,Lt Colonel Biplab Nath,quoting information gathered by the civil administration and Army through their respective sources,said large-scale loss of livestock and property had occurred due to snow and heavy rainfall in areas of Warwan and Navapachchi in Marwah tehsil. Apart from this,several Gujjars and Bakerwals too had fallen ill.
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