Flood-hit villagers sell livestock for peanuts

Mir Iqbal

AARIGUTNOO ( KULGAM), Jan 29: With no feed left for their livestock after last year’s devastative floods damaging the crops and stored hay, the villagers in Kulgam are selling their livestock including milch animals on cheaper prices.
Farmers in Aarigutnoo, South Kashmir’s Kulgam district said taming of cattle has become a difficult task due to scarcity of food stuff like hay to feed their livestock in winter months.
The farmers said that it was like drought in the village after the gushing waters of Veshu stream washed their whole agricultural land.
They rue that worst floods rendered 250 families homeless and washed as much as village’s 2, 000 Kanals of agricultural land and the Government has yet to compensate them.
They said, the Government despite assessing the damage caused to livestock and farmland was yet to announce any compensation for the losses.
“The last year flood has left nothing in our agriculture land, because of which we could not store any hay and food stuff to feed for our cattle in winter months, which forced us to sell them for peanuts,” Mohammad Amin, a farmer told Excelsior.
“The fertile soil layer has been washed away in flood waters and the land is barren with huge boulders lying all around.”
Like other hundreds of farmers in the area, Amin too has lost all the 20 Kanals of farmland, which he has inherited from his ancestors.
Ruksana, 45, a village woman, said that her cow has calved the day when tragedy befell on the village. “I miss my cow badly, but I have no place to keep her during winter months,” she said.
“I tamed her for years. I was happy, because apart from feeding our family I was managing the family’s miscellanies expenses by selling the milk,” she said.
Being among the worst flood hit victims in the Valley, she said that her family feared that they have to bear the brunt for years, as reviving of farming and rearing of cattle here would be a herculean task for them.
The area lost livestock worth crores of rupees, but got no relief to recover the losses.
The destitute villagers also said that they received relief material include food items, blankets, medicines and shelter huts from neighboring villages, government, religious bodies and dozens of NGO’s, but nobody supported for the revival of livestock and agricultural activities.
“We are farming community and cattle is our lifeline to meet our everyday needs,” Mushtaq Ahmad Naikoo, chairman of Relief Committee in the village told Excelsior, adding, the farmers sold the cattle for little money after draught like situation hit the village.
Naikoo flanked by other villagers accused the authorities for remaining in hibernation despite knowing the fact that livestock including milch animals and sheep were reared in the village.
Although, many families in the village maintain that they sell the cattle to sustain their families’ in these tough times. “We sold two cows, 20 sheep and an ox, because we lost a big cow shed,” a farmer said, adding, it was difficult to tame this huge folk at a time, when their own survival seemed impossible.
Deputy Commissioner Kulgam Nissar Hussain Wani said that the first priority was the rehabilitation of affected families in the area. “Our focus was to rehabilitate affected families first and we worked hard to ensure that each family should live under a roof in harsh winters,” he said, adding, livestock and revival of agricultural land comes the next.
He, however, said that he would direct concerned officials to take stock of the situation in the area. “If there is any problem facing any family, let me know and we will see what best can be help to them,” he said.
He also said that compensation was disbursed to the affected families. Timber, blankets and free ration were also provided to them.
While agriculture and its allied fields including taming of milch animals and rearing of sheep remains the spine of village’s economy, contributing 100 percent in village’s prosperity, the “poor” villagers urged Government to quickly intervene, so that they could not fall to the dependency syndrome in the future.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here