BENGALURU: For farmers of Devikunte in Chikkaballapur district, it’s an arduous trek every day across the border into Andhra Pradesh in search of green patches for the cattle ever since a forest fire burnt the pastures near their village. That’s just one part of their problem. After crossing over, they are faced with resistance from locals there.
Devikunte is among the remote villages of Bagepalli taluk on the Karnataka-Andhra border. Cattle from not just here, but also surrounding villages like Picchavaara, Jillalapalli, Honnampalli and Madapalli were usually brought to the grazing ground.
Villagers seek fodder bank for their cattle
Villagers pointed out that after the good rain this year, there was plenty of grass across the region. But as the harsh summer set in, the grass dried up. When there was a forest fire in early March, the grassy patches nearby also caught fire, and it was so intense that it took about four days to douse. Devikunte has some 86 houses and many of the family rear cattle. A few of them, with one or two heads of cattle, are managing by feeding them vegetable peels and other greens.
But for others like Gopal and his family, who own 30 cows, taking their cattle to Maddakavaipalli village in Andhra Pradesh every day is the only option. “Earlier, we used to leave around 11 am as the green patches was close by, and return home by 5 pm. But now we leave at 9 am and return home after 6.30 pm. It’s about one-and-half to two hours of walking distance,’’ Gopal said.
When they enter the Andhra side for grazing their cattle, locals there oppose it. The region is mostly dry land and there are hardly a few green patches. “When outsiders come to graze their cattle, the locals will obviously resist. But we request them and use the grazing grounds there,’’ said another villager. They are now demanding a fodder bank to overcome the problem.
When the villagers raised the issue with the tahsildhar, he claimed that it does not come under the purview of the Revenue Department. Villagers even approached the Animal Husbandry Department, but the officials told them that they can help only if the cattle has some health issues. “We have nowhere to go. The nearest place is across the Andhra border,’’ rued Gopal. When contacted, Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chavan said the government is committed to safeguarding the interests of farmer and promised to provide all facilities. “We will make arrangement to help the farmers,’’ he said.