PANAJI: Cow lovers working doggedly and silently towards the upkeeping of bovine species have lamented the frequent procedural delay by the local Village Panchayat and Municipal Councils resulting in the suffering of stray cattle.
According to the President of Savoi-Verem gaushala Uday Deshmukh, their gaushala was functioning smoothly until the grant given by the government for maintaining stray cattle was released promptly. Deshmukh informed that he, along with a group of like-minded individuals, had set up gaushala in 2016, intending to provide shelter to the cattle that are left abandoned.
“Gaushala was functioning smoothly until the grant given by the government for maintaining stray cattle was released on time. It has been four long years since we haven’t received the grant from the government. Delay in forwarding the documents to the concerned Department by Panchayat is the major cause behind the suffering of gaushalas”, he added.
Lamenting that they are facing severe issues in maintaining the stray cattle due to a shortage of funds, Deshmukh said the procedural delay by the local Panchayat body in forwarding the utilization and other certificates to the concerned Department is adding to the suffering of cattle.
“Verem-Vaghurme Panchayat fails to send mandatory documents to the Department of Animal Husbandry on scheduled time. Therefore it is becoming difficult for us to maintain the gaushala and take proper care of cattle in such cases. We can’t leave the impounded cattle back on the streets. Doing such a thing, we believe, will be an act of inhumanity. Hence, we have been running the gaushala by spending from their own pocket for the last four years,” he said.
He also said that the Panchayat failed to support them when the cyclone hit their cowshed. “According to the MoU that we signed with the local body, Panchayat is supposed to support us when the gaushala is in a bad state of affairs and to take a timely grant from the government”.
“Savoi-Verem gaushala is home to more than 36 cattle at present. Although our capacity is far more than this, we can’t impound more cattle since we are facing a severe shortage of funds in maintaining them”.
Hanumant Parab, President of Jai Sree Ram Gau Sanvardhan Kendra, a registered animal welfare trust located at Valpoi-Sattari, informed that the aforementioned gaushala houses 445 cattle.
According to Parab, most of the gaushalas set up across the State are in bad condition since the funds have yet to be released on time. He said, “Currently, I have come to the Department of Animal Husbandry to take a follow-up on the non-release of a grant to Jai Sree Ram Gau Sanvardhan Kendra for one year”.
Speaking on a similar line, Kamlakant Tari, President of Shikeri gaushala located at Mayem, lamented about the procedural delay by the local body in releasing the fund. “The State government, through the Department of animal husbandry, is helping us in every possible way to keep our good work on. The major problem is a procedural delay from the village governing institution. Department of Animal Husbandry can’t process the order unless and until the utilization certificate is issued by the Panchayat Or Municipal Council on time; failing this, the grant is not released”.
Informing that one needs to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the village-governing body to set up the gaushala, Tari said he has signed an MoU with both Mayem Village Panchayat as well as Bicholim Municipal Council to set up the same.
He said, “To restrain abandoned cows from getting ended up in a slaughterhouse, we took the initiative to set up gaushala in 2015 where, at the start, two cattle suffering from foot and mouth disease were rescued and treated. Currently, we are housing more than 2,600 cattle”.
He urged the public not to litter garbage in the open. Tari said, “Major factor that imperils the lives of cattle is plastic consumption. Stray cattle are left scrounging for food at garbage dumps, eating plastic waste and succumbing to a painful death. In four operations, we removed a whopping quantity of 75kg, 65kg, 55 kg and 35 kg plastic from their stomach when operated”.
Adding further, Tari said, “Shikeri gaushala is capable of sheltering the entire set of bovine species of Goa provided we receive constant financial support/ grant governments end”.
Thanking the State government for a grant provided to support gaushala from their end, Tari urged the Panchayats to fastrack the procedure of grant release since their delay is resulting in the suffering of bovine species.
Swati Shilker, who coordinates the rescuing of the abandoned and injured cattle in South Goa.
So far, we have treated and nursed thousands of stray cattle at Dhyan foundation spiritual and charitable organization. “I’m coordinating the Cow care centres located in South Goa. These are located at Betul, Zambaulim and Shirvoi in Quepem, which houses approximately 500 cattle”, said Shilker.
She informed that the gaushala at Shirvoi is exclusively meant for treating injured cattle. Rescued cattle suffering from injuries are shifted to Shirvoi Gaushala, while the rest of the abandoned cattle are taken either to Betul or Zambaulim. “Once treated at Shirvoi gaushala, we send them to the cow shelter at Betul”.
Informing that Dairy farmers leave the cattle on the road once turned ‘unproductive’, Shilker said, “this adds to the stray cattle menace and rises in the number of road accidents”.
She added that the physically disabled cattle, mother-less calves, buffalos and cows with missing limbs that they have rescued so far from the roadside or highways are the victims of road accidents.
Shilkar said they have treated thousands of injured and abandoned cattle since the day they had set their base in the State. “Our major aim behind rescuing and treating the cattle is to restrain them from getting into slaughtering”, she added.
Adding that they depend on outside States for fodder, Shilkar appealed to the Department of Agriculture and the Goa government to motivate the farmers to grow fodder within the State to make the gaushalas self-sustainable. “This will not only solve our problem but will also generate local employment”, added Shilkar.
Urging people to support the volunteers while they are in the process of rescuing, Shilkar said, “We are non-profitable organizations working for the benefit of society. Except the self-satisfaction, we gain no profit”.
She added that each day, on average, volunteers rescue six abandoned cattle from the roads of Goa.