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Sheep farmers suffer as forest department blocks grazing in Kashmir's main city

 Sheep farmers suffer as forest department blocks grazing in Kashmir's main city



Srinagar, Mar 21, KNT: Sheep farmers in Srinagar are grappling with a crisis as forest department is blocking access to grazing by putting closures and fences around the traditional grasslands. 


The sheep farmers in Srinagar's Nishat area, where more than 250 families are involved with sheep farming, said the forest department has placed fences across large swathes of lands which, otherwise, have been used for sheep grazing for generations. 


The forest officials have blocked access to lower reaches of Zabarwan mountains in Nishat, where they are constructing a park - Chinar Bagh. The park is being constructed just adjacent to Nishat Bagh. 


"This is a Kahcharai under revenue records and our village has been traditionally using it for sheep grazing. Now the forest department has taken control of this land and have put up a fence to construct a park," said a Nishat resident, who owns a herd of hundred sheep. 


The kahcharai, which refers to grassland in revenue records, near Nishat was taken over by Forest department for purpose of urban forestation drive. However, the residents of Nishat alleged that a park with a fence has been set-up in the area 


"It is an attempt to create more unemployment and snatch a source of livelihood from us," Nishat residents said. 


The forest department has created immense problems for sheep farmers on outskirts of Srinagar as the officials are blocking access to grazing lands. 


Earlier, forest officials had blocked access to sheep grazing areas in Mulnar on Srinagar outskirts which has led to shutting down of farms and migration of sheep to other areas. [KNT]

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