RAIPUR: Nineteen cows died since Tuesday evening and over two dozen were injured while they were being shifted to other cow shelters in Durg, Bemetra and Mahasamund districts by road under the supervision of the Chhattisgarh Rajya Gau Sewa Ayog.
Officially 176 cows have died in three government cow shelters in two districts, following which the remaining cattle were to be shifted to other locations for better care.
The villagers alleged that over 350 cows have died because of starvation, lack of proper care and corruption. Preliminary investigation also found the cows were
starved to death and neglected in the shelters maintained by a senior BJP leader who has been jailed.
During the cattle transportation the officials "flouted" state government regulations that clearly specified the distance, time, rest interval, temperature among other things. These rules aimed as a mechanism of safeguard are to be mandatorily followed by the authorities and the farmers.
The Raman Singh government has framed a unique "compassionate" rules, cited to be first in the country, to ensure "utmost" care for the cattle (that includes calf, cow, bull and buffalo), during their transit within or outside the state.
Some of the guiding instructions say each animal during the road journey must have a minimum of two sq metre of space as protection from a stampede or any discomfort. The conveyance used for transportation must be sufficiently ventilated. Not more than five are to be transported at a given time. The animal should get twenty minutes rest after it consumes water and nutritional fodder essential during transportation.
Apparently none of these steps were followed by the officials and several weak, infirm and ailing cows were packed beyond capacity and transported.
“We are responsible if the cows are dying now. I clearly instructed the officials to ensure that cows should be shifted with maximum care. The transporting vehicles will be asked to carry guards and veterinary doctors along with the cows to travel till the destination,” Biseshar Patel, chairman of the Ayog told the New Indian Express.
After the bovine deaths the state government on Wednesday constituted a cabinet sub-committee of three senior ministers who will oversee the better working of the cow-shelters and carry out regular monitoring.
As many as 69 of the 115 cow shelters working in Chhattisgarh receive aid from the state government.
With Chhattisgarh going to polls next year, the opposition Congress has geared-up to turn the cow deaths into a major political issue against the ruling BJP.