HUBBALLI: A 25-year-old farmer from Murgod village of Saundatti taluk in Belagavi district was in for a surprise when he received a response to his letter from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The farmer — Rahul Bekanalakar — had written to PM Narendra Modi on May 29 seeking a special veterinary centre for his hobli with 30 villages, after he lost his cow and calf. A few months later, on August 6, an official of the Animal Husbandry Department came to the farmer’s house enquiring about his loss.
Then Rahul received calls from anxious officials from the district, taluk and village levels, wondering who he had approached since they were under so much pressure to resolve his complaint.
Rahul, who owns a three-acre land, lost his cow Gouri and its calf during labour as there was no medical help available in his village. This prompted Rahul to write a letter to Modi requesting him to provide veterinary care in his village or in the surrounding area.
In his letter, Rahul wrote about his family, losing his father in an accident in 2008, trying to sustain his family of two by raising a cow and the death of the cow and calf. He asked the PM to help him as he had not insured his cow. He also stated in the letter that he has to travel 60 km to Belagavi to pursue his higher studies. After completing his B Com, Rahul is now preparing for CA.
Though Murgod is located in Saundatti taluk, vets are available only in Bailhongal town. The doctors who come for treatment from far away places charge `5,000-`6,000 per visit. Hence, Rahul decided to write to Modi seeking his intervention in getting a veterinary facility.
“I lost my cow as there was no timely help ... there are hundreds of other farmers who own cattle. Many times we are dependent on doctors from Belagavi, Dharwad and Bailhongal ... during emergencies it is difficult for cattle owners,” Rahul told TNIE.
A senior Animal Husbandry Department official from Bengaluru, an official from Saundatti and a local officer from Murgod spoke to him over phone.
“The officials, who called me, did not know whose help I had sought. One of the officials asked about the cow and whether any complaint was made. They said they were under pressure from top officials and asked who I had approached.
When I said I wrote to the PM, they were surprised. An official explained to me about Pashu Baghya scheme and other Central government schemes available for farmers and cattle-grazers. It was a nice gesture ... officials heard my problems and they promised to look into my demand of setting up a veterinary clinic,” he said.