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Khandu, Rijiju inaugurate 7th Yak Mela in West Kameng

The event was organized by ICAR-National Research Center on Yak (ICAR-NRC on Yak), Dirang to promote sustainable practices in yak rearing and provide solutions to the problems faced by indigenous yak herders, official sources said here.

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Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu along with Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju on Thursday inaugurated the 7th Yak Mela at Lubrang, a small village under Dirang circle of West Kameng district.

The event was organized by ICAR-National Research Center on Yak (ICAR-NRC on Yak), Dirang to promote sustainable practices in yak rearing and provide solutions to the problems faced by indigenous yak herders, official sources said here.

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Speaking on the occasion, Khandu appreciated the role being played by ICAR-NRC on Yak 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 on Yak 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 the 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.
Stressing on the role of ICAR-NRC on Yak in conservation of yaks, he welcomed its proposed initiative to help in promotion and conservation of yak with support from the NABARD. He offered all support and cooperation from the state government in the initiative.

Khandu also urged the institute to study and guide the state government to evolve a holistic marketing system for yak products by engaging local entrepreneurs. 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 yak rearing 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 authorities of ICAR-NRC on Yak 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 he will raise the issue during the conference of the Monpa Mimang Tshokpa, 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 Naga
GG, maintenance of the road to NRC campus, etc.

On the occasion, radio sets and blankets were distributed to the Brokpas. The day-long Mela had events like scientist-farmer interaction, yak competitions, critical inputs to yak herders, cultural programmes by yak herders, etc. Also present on the occasion were Dirang legislator Phurpa Tsering, ICAR DDG (Animal Science) Dr B N Tripathi and others.

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