LUBRANG, Chief Minister Pema Khandu along with Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju today inaugurated the 7th Yak Mela here at Lubrang in West Kameng district. The event is organized by ICAR- National Research Center (NRC) on Yak to promote sustainable practices in Yak rearing and provide solutions to the problems faced by indigenous Yak herders.
Addressing on the occasion Khandu appreciated the role being played by NRC in conservation and rearing of yak in the region especially in West Kameng and Tawang districts. Traditionally the Brokpas are the yak herders who follow a nomadic lifestyle grazing their yaks in the high mountain ranges of the two districts.
Khandu remembered the times when the yak population was fast declining due to unscientific rearing, slaughter and sale. He said it was the timely intervention of the NRC with its research based scientific practices of yak rearing that saved the animal and encouraged its rearing among the people.
“In order to contribute in conservation of the animal distinct to the region, I too turned a yak herder and today I have more than hundred yaks,” he informed.
Khandu appreciated the Brokpas, who despite leading a very tough life in the high mountains, have continued to rear yaks for generations.
He Informed that the state government has started two novel schemes to give a boost to the agriculture and horticulture sectors in the state called ‘AtmaNirbhar Krishi Yojna’ and the ‘AtmaNirbhar Bagwani Yojna’ wherein only 10% of the scheme cost has to be borne by the farmer while 45% will be as govt subsidy and 45% will be the bank loan part.
Khandu directed the Animal Husbandry department to study the schemes in detail and frame a scheme on the same lines for rearing of yaks. This, he believed, would help the yak herders immensely, who mostly are bereft of any institutionalized support from the government.
Stressing on the role of NRC in conservation of yak, he welcomed its proposed initiative with support from NABARD to help in promotion and conservation of yak. He offered all support and cooperation from the state government in the initiative.
Khandu also urged NRC to study and guide the state government to evolve a holistic marketing system for yak products by engaging local entrepreneurs.
He also bought the idea of NRC designing lightweight tents that can be used by the Brokpas in high altitudes when they go up to graze their animals. He assured that if NRC can design such tents that can easily be transported by the yak herders, the government will be happy to procure and provide these to them at subsidized rates.
Khandu endorsed the suggestion put forth by Rijiju that the Yak Mela needs to be upgraded to a grand event that would not only create awareness on the scientific way of rearing yaks but also attract tourists from far and wide.
Rijiju had earlier suggested that the one day Yak Mela may be converted into a weeklong event of international standard with a permanent site and infrastructure.
Khandu advised the ICAR-NRC authorities to work on the suggestion and offered the state government’s support to materialize it.
On an important issue of tax being levied on Brokpas for grazing their cattle in ‘somebody else’s’ land, Khandu said that he will raise the issue during the conference of the Monpa Mimang Tshokpa (MMT), the apex community based organization of the Monpas, scheduled at Dirang from Friday and assured to find a way out.
He also assured to take up the matters of road construction from Lubrang to NGG, maintenance of the road to NRC campus, etc. Khandu also assured to personally contribute in construction of the Gompa at Lubrang village.
On the occasion radio sets and blankets were distributed to members of the Brokpa community.
The day-long Mela marked events like scientist-farmer interaction, yak competitions, critical inputs to yak herders, cultural programs by yak herders, etc.
Dirang legislator Phurpa Tsering, ICAR DDG (Animal Science) Dr B N Tripathi and others.