J-K: Nomads face distress due to untimely snowfall in Doda hills, halt onward journey

Owing to bad weather conditions, the authorities issued an advisory asking nomads not to go ahead with their journey to upper reaches till May 4

Representative image (Photo: IANS)
Representative image (Photo: IANS)


Unseasonal snowfall in higher reaches of Doda hills in Jammu and Kashmir has caused distress to the nomadic population, prompting them to halt their onward journey along with cattle to highly snowbound pasturelands.

Owing to bad weather conditions, the authorities issued an advisory asking nomads not to go ahead with their journey to upper reaches till May 4.

"We are in grave distress due to cycle of fresh snowfalls in upper reaches. We are trapped in this snowstorms. It is a difficult situation for us and our cattle," Nizam Din Bakarwal said.

As a result of snowfalls, cold wave conditions have engulfed the upper reaches of Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts, triggering panic among the nomads who have started their bi-annual migration from the plains in the Union Territory and Punjab.

Officials said fresh snowfall has been reported in Kailash Mountain Range, Kainthi, Padri Gali, Bhaal Padri, Seoj, Shankh Padar, Rishi Dal, Gau-Peeda, Gan-Thak, Khanni-top, Guldanda, Chattar Galla and Asha Pati Glacier surrounding Bhaderwah Valley since Monday night.

Unexpected snowfall was also reported from Braid Bal, Nehyed Chilly, Sharonth Dhar, Katardhar, Kainthi, Laloo Paani, Kaljugasar, Duggan Top, Goha and Sinthan Top besides the high altitude meadows of Gandoh, they said.

These high-altitude and vast grazing meadows remain inhabited by the Gujjar and Bakarwal tribes during summers but due to harsh weather conditions and unseasonal snowfall, which covered the otherwise green meadows under thick blanket of snow, hundreds of tribal families who are heading towards their summer abode have got stuck up either on the roadsides or in the the snow-filled mountains at different parts of Chenab valley and are compelled to survive under open sky with their cattle and toddlers without fodder.

Shepherd Satish Kumar said they have lost dozens of goats after they got trapped in snowstorm continuously for one week from Sarthal to Guldanda area.

Doda Deputy Commissioner Vishesh Paul Mahajan, while assuring all the required help from district administration, advised that the nomads should postpone further journey for another couple of days in view of harsh weather conditions.

The Meteorological (MeT) Department has predicted spells of rain and snow for of May in entire Chenab Valley, however some improvement in weather is likely from May 5.

According to the 2011 census, high-altitude meadows of Chenab Valley which are spread from Bhadarwah to Jawahar tunnel (Banihal) and Marmat (Doda) to Paddar and Marwah (Kishtwar), house 30,000 nomads and their lakhs of cattle including sheep, goats, Buffalows, horses, mules etc during summers but some tribal organizations claimed that the number has increased more than 1 lakh. 

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