Gaushalas let cattle loose

Caretakers seek aid, say cows on brink of starvation

Gaushalas let cattle loose

In view of shortage of fodder, a caretaker opens the gates of a gaushala so that cows can roam around and look for pasture in Jalandhar on Sunday. Tribune photo: Malkiat Singh

Ajay Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 5

Nearly 1,500 cattle at four gaushalas in the city are reportedly staring at starvation due to the shortage of fodder. Caretakers at the gaushalas are not able to arrange enough fodder in view of the curfew restrictions.

Depending on a handful of stock, the caretakers rue that before the complete lockdown was ordered, adequate measures should have been put in place for regular supply of fodder. Owing to the crunch, the caretakers have now opened the gates of the gaushalas so that the cows could roam around and look for pasture.

Satish Kumar, a caretaker at Radhe Swami Gaushala, Gurunanak Pura, says, “For the past eight days, we have been struggling to feed our cattle. Owing to curfew restrictions, we are not allowed to venture out to arrange fodder.”

Looking after over 45 cows, Satish and his wife usually purchase fodder from donations and collect discarded vegetables and fruits from local market. His wife Rajkumari says prior to the lockdown, people residing in the vicinity used to give them leftover food and vegetables. “It’s not the case now since people are not allowed to go out,” she says.

On the daily requirement of fodder, Satish says they need at least five quintal of fodder to feed the cows.

Similarly, Ravi Kakkar, manager at Pinjar Poll Shelter Home, says this is for the first time that they are experiencing shortage of fodder. “Before curfew, farmers used to deliver fodder every morning at the gaushala, but due to prohibitory orders, they are not able to come,” says Kakkar, who is looking after 1,200 cows at two gaushalas at Bulandpur and Tanda road.

In another gaushala at Devi Talab Mandir, caretaker Rajesh Virk says he has been feeding 360 cows with the last month’s stock that will last for a week or two.

Deepak Jyoti, a city-based activist, says owing to curfew, local dealers are selling the fodder at high rates. “The fodder that was available earlier at Rs170-200 per quintal is now being sold at Rs230-250 per quintal. The administration needs to immediately take action and ensure uninterrupted supply of fodder at gaushalas,” Jyoti adds.

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