Dharamsala, July 18
A large number of Gaddi shepherds are stranded in higher reaches of the Bara Bhangal valley that extends over Kangra, Kullu and Lahaul and Spiti districts. The shepherds stuck in high mountains after bridges built over rivers were damaged in flashfloods following heavy rain are facing a shortage of food.
Repair bridges: BJP
The state government should deliver food items to stranded shepherds through helicopter and repair damaged bridges at the earliest so that they can come out safely with their cattle. Trilok Kapoor, BJP General Secretary
Akshay Jasrotia, president of the Shepherds Association in Baijnath area of Kangra district, says that around 70 shepherds along with 2,000 cattle are stranded in areas adjoining Chandratal in Lahaul and Spiti. “The shepherds are facing a shortage of food in the absence of supplies, as bridges over rivers have collapsed in flashfloods. To add to the misery, the area has received snowfall. We have requested the government to provide a helicopter to evacuate the stranded shepherds from the Chandratal area,” he adds.
Jasrotia says that the government has sent a team of mountaineers from Manali to trace the shepherds but it will not be enough owing to the inclement weather.
Pawana Devi, a panchayat member from Bara Bhangal, says that due to flashfloods in the Ravi, bridges constructed over it were destroyed. “Most of the food supplies were sent to the shepherds on horseback from Bara Bhangal during the summer. However, now, the supplies cannot be sent on horseback as bridges have been damaged and rivers are in spate. The Gaddi shepherds may also face huge losses in terms of the death of their cattle due to unseasonal snowfall in the higher reaches, she adds.
Deputy Commissioner Nipun Jindal says that every effort is being made to deliver food to the stranded shepherds and repair damaged bridges.
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