Rs 41 cr special package to increase Pashmina goats population on anvil

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, May 22: In the aftermath of death of over 22,000 rare Pashmina goats in the Changthang plateau of Ladakh region due to fodder scarcity during January-February this year, Central Wool Development Board is all set to sanction special package of Rs 41.21 crore to increase Pashmina goat population during the 12th Five Year Plan period and a detailed presentation about the plan prepared by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh is being made before the Secretary, Union Ministry of Textile at Union Capital tomorrow.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that as the main and best quality Pashmina (cashmere) wool coming from the Changthang plateau of Ladakh region suffered immense set-back due to death of over 22,000 rare Pashmina goats early this year, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council approached the Central Wool Development Board under the Union Ministry of Textile for special assistance for increasing Pashmina goat population by initiating different measures.
“Though the Central Wool Development Board had already provided financial allocation of Rs 1.28 crore for Pashmina Development Programme for whole 11th Plan Period, the LAHDC pleaded before the Ministry of Textile that such an assistance was meager in view of prevailing conditions and large area to be covered and stressed that special package should be sanctioned for the 12th Plan period especially in aftermath of death of over 22,000 rare Pashmina goats”, sources said.
On the request of the LAHDC, a team of Ministry of Textile and Central Wool Development Board visited the whole project area to assess the actual field conditions, interacted with the nomads to understand their difficulties and held meetings with stakeholders and finally decided to continue the Pashmina Development Programme during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) with some additional and modified components with an approach of special package with total financial provision of Rs 41.21 crore, sources said.
“Now, the Chief Executive Councilor of LAHDC Leh, Rigjin Spalbar and Deputy Commissioner Leh, Simrandeep Singh are going to make a detailed presentation over the plan before the Secretary, Ministry of Textile tomorrow and it is likely that the special package would be sanctioned by the Ministry”, sources said.
In response to a question, sources said that the aims and objectives of the special package are to provide the necessary inputs for breed improvement, training, health care and nutritional supplement for qualitative and quantitative improvement in Pashmina wool production; to sustain health condition of Pashmina goats through provision of health care and nutritional supplement; increase Pashmina goat population by distribution of male and female goats as foundation stock in non-traditional areas; establishment of multi-purpose extension centres for nomads on migratory routes and establishment of pasture farms for grazing of Pashmina goats during severe cold period specially on migratory routes.
Under the special package, research and development work will be undertaken for development of Pashmina wool,  income from Pashmina/wool of the goat rearers will be increased to sustain their interest in this activity as a reliable means of livelihood, existing breeding farms would be strengthened, Pashmina population growth rate will be increased from present 2% per annum (in last 10 years) to 5% per annum with Pashmina goats population of 3 lakh at the end of 12th Plan, sources informed.
In response to another question, sources said, “the special package would go a long way in ensuring that the Pashmina goats rearing tradition doesn’t die down and even younger generation of Changpa tribe inhabiting Changthang region is encouraged towards this activity”.