Panjarapols: Empathising with cattle

Rutam Vora Rapar | Updated on March 28, 2019 Published on March 28, 2019

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Panjarapol, a concept mostly popular with the Jain community to care for every living animal, is a kind of cattle shelter-home. At the time of scarcity, these Panjarapols — run purely on donations from different sections of society — provide food, water and medical aid besides shelter to deserted or abandoned animals. Located in the eastern part of Kutch district in Rapar taluka, Shree Jivdaya Mandal, set up about 47 years ago, is a place of solace for many farmers and cattle breeders.

“They bring their calves and big animals, including cows and buffalo. It is disheartening to imagine that farmers and cattle-breeders have to separate from their animals because of inability to feed them,” said Navinbhai Morabiya, president of Shree Jivdaya Mandal.

This year has been particularly bad as farmers are abandoning even new-born calves without waiting for them to get adult and produce milk, to ear a livelihood. “Most farmers prefer leaving the animals here instead of sending them to a butchery. And we feed them throughout their life. We run deep in the red, but still we are able to feed them thanks to our donors,” he says.

Interestingly, every cattle is registered in the records of the panjarapol with their distinct marks and breed. They are never sold again. Once registered, these animals become the liability of the panjarapol, which reported ₹6.19 crore of income through donations and gifts.

The Panjarapol is one of the largest in the State and has over 12,000 cattle, mostly calves, followed by cow, bulls, buffalo, sheep, goats and camels.

Government support is available in the form of ₹35 subsidy per animal per day. But that is largely insufficient because each animal requires fodder worth ₹100 per day on average. “Our daily requirement is 200 tonnes of fresh fodder for the animals. We source it from neighbouring Rajasthan and parts of South Gujarat,” says Vipul Mehta, Secretary of the Trust.

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Published on March 28, 2019
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