74,000 Cattle Died in Gujarat's Surendranagar & Banaskantha Districts in 3 Years: Government

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74,000 Cattle Died in Gujarat’s Surendranagar & Banaskantha Districts in 3 Years

| Updated: March 7, 2024 17:53

74,000 Cattle Died in Gujarat's Surendranagar & Banaskantha Districts in 3 Years

Nearly 74,000 cattle perished in panjrapols (registered cattle shelters) across Surendranagar and Banaskantha districts of Gujarat over the past three years, the state government revealed during the recently concluded Gujarat Assembly Budget Session.

The data showed that over 21,000 of the deceased cattle were calves, with 14,392 and 6,830 deaths reported in Surendranagar and Banaskantha respectively, between 2021 and September 2023.

The breakdown of remaining deaths revealed 29,057 animals, primarily cows (21,576) and buffaloes (7,026), succumbing in Surendranagar, while Banaskantha recorded 44,885 deaths, including 19,802 cows and 21,372 buffaloes, during the same period.

“Registered panjrapols have already submitted details of these deaths to the state government. However, no compensation has been offered for these losses,” informed Congress MLA Geniben Thakor, who raised the issue in the Assembly.

Vipul Mali, general secretary of Gujarat Gau Seva Sangh, attributed the rise in fatalities to the lumpy virus outbreak, which began in late 2021 and spread throughout the state.

However, the government contradicted this claim when responding to a separate question on the virus’s spread in the state, raised by Congress MLA Imran Khedawala. The government maintained that no lumpy virus cases were reported in cows as of September 30, 2023.

Khedawala contested the government’s response, highlighting the data showing the highest number of cattle deaths occurring between late 2021 and 2022, coinciding with the lumpy virus outbreak.

While the government attributed calf deaths to fever, diarrhea, and weakness, panjrapols, mostly run by charitable trusts, classified such reasons as “unavoidable.”

“Cows and buffaloes reaching panjrapols are often already old, weak, or sick, making their survival challenging. Additionally, with Banaskantha housing the highest number of cattle, its panjrapols receive a larger number of such animals,” explained Jagdish Solanki, spokesperson for the Banaskantha Panjrapol Federation, representing 203 panjrapols sheltering around 75,000 animals in the district.

Rajesh Thakkar from Shree Rajpur Deesa Panjrapol, one of the largest shelters in Banaskantha, elaborated on the challenges: “Prolonged effects of lumpy virus in cows forced isolation, reducing their recovery chances. Additionally, the male calves discarded by farmers are already weak and have a lower survival rate.”

The government has announced measures like vaccination and financial assistance under the Mukhyamantri Gau Mata Poshan Yojana to address calf mortality. However, panjrapols and gaushalas across Gujarat had protested against the non-implementation of the promised Rs 500 crore scheme announced in the 2022-2023 state budget.

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