Compassion and care for the cattle

Vishwanath Kulkarni | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on April 27, 2016

At Nandi Vana, the cattle shelter in Raichur

Nandi Vana resembles an oasis for beleaguered farmers and their cattle in the drought-affected district of Gulbarga and adjoining arid regions.

A shelter for drought-affected animals, Nandi Vana Go Shaala has been set up by the Sharanamma Diggavi Educational Trust at Harathihadagil village, some 12 km from Gulbarga city.

“Unable to witness the plight of farmers resorting to distress sale of their cattle, we started this shelter in November at our 18-acre mango farm,” says Basavaraj Diggavi, chief trustee.

“We received 50 pairs of bullocks within a week, which increased to over 1,700 in a short while as word spread and the drought impact intensified in the region,” Basavaraj adds.

Besides providing fodder, water and veterinary care to the sheltered animals, Nandi Vana houses about 500 people, mainly the animals’ owners or caretakers. Part of the farmhouse in Nandi Vana has been converted into a kitchen. The expenditure for running the goshala is being met from the educational trust.

The Diggavi family’s gesture has been widely appreciated as it has provided relief to hundreds of farmers in a 60-km radius.

“But for this shelter place, I would have been forced to sell my cattle,” says Siddaiah of Melkunda-B village, three of whose bullocks are at Nandi Vana.

The failure of the monsoons in the region has led to water scarcity and impacted the fodder availability for the cattle. The price of a pair of bullocks, which dropped to as low as ₹30,000 (against the original cost of around ₹1 lakh) during November-December as farmers resorted to distress sale, has now recovered and stabilised, Basavaraj added.

Basavaraj said that his family-run Trust has not received any external funding to run the shelter. “We have so far spent about ₹1.2 crore; we expect the expenses to exceed ₹2 crore by the time the monsoon arrives,” he added. The shelter, which mainly houses bullocks, will be opened up for cows and sheep and goats, Basavaraj said.

The district administration has also set up a couple of goshalas in the district.

Published on April 27, 2016
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