Berhampur, November 13 (LocalWire): The brunt of climate change is there to be seen in people’s life; it is not only affecting agriculture in Gajapati district but also impacting the livelihood of Tibetans settled here for over four decades.
According to Tibetan settlers of Chandragiri who set up the temporary woollen market here, with the winter season shrinking over the years, their seasonal business of selling warm clothes has also dwindled, and many of them have been forced to take up other occupations.
“When we had started to sell woollen garments in Berhampur, we used to set up at least 70 stalls and the business ran over for four to five months about four decades ago,” an old Tibetan lady said.
This year the Tibetans have set up only 37 stalls in the Old Mango Market here, with only 13 families involved in the business.
“Since it is not yet cold, the business is dull this year,” Tibetan market president Tenzin Soepa said.
The market opens on 15 October and continues till 15 January every year. In 2018, however, they had to close the market before the scheduled date due to the early onset of summer.
The Tibetan shopkeepers, however, are hopeful of a good business this year since the weather scientists have predicted that cold weather is likely to prevail from 15 November, following the cyclonic storm Bulbul that recently passed through the state.
“We are hoping that the business will pick up in the coming days when,” Tibetan Local Assembly (TLA) chairman Tsering Phuntsok said,
Keeping in sync with the changing times, the Tibetans now warm garments of the latest fashion, including sweater, jacket, ladies cardigan, shawls, mufflers, caps and baby suits.
While it is believed that the products they sell are made by them, the garments are usually brought from Ludhiana and other towns in Punjab.
“Some years ago, the female members of the families were making some garments. But now we procure these from the Ludhiana as manufacturing costs have gone up,” Tsering Dolma said, adding that the settlers avail loans from banks for their winter business.
Besides Berhampur, several of the Tibetan settlers also go to Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Rourkela, Koraput, Keoinjhar in the state and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh for their seasonal winter business.
Over 4,000 Tibetans are settled in five camps at Chandragiri, Takallipadara, Labarsingh, Jeranga, and Mahendragarh since 1964 after they were forced to flee from Tibet along with their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.