PURI: Retired police officer of Puri is on a mission to save stray cattle from accidents and provide them a safe shelter. Gobind Prasad Pattnaik, a former police signals officer, has not only set up a veterinary hospital but also an ashram in Puri district for stray cattle.
Moved by the plight of stray cattle who are often hit by speeding vehicles, Pattnaik after his retirement in 2013 decided to open the facilities with the help of a few of his friends.
Five years later, he could manage the funds and infrastructure to open a hospital, Sri Jagannath Go Seva Sansthan, in Bagha Akhada Mutt located alongside the Grand Road in 2018.
Helping him in the initiative were Sankaracharya Swami Neeschalanda Saraswati of Gobardhan peeth and Paramahamsa Prajnananda of Prajnana Mission.
The hospital which is managed by Pattnaik has an OT, ICU and an indoor treatment unit for 18 cattle. Vets of Government Veterinary Hospital and private facilities attend to the injured animals and treat them for free.
However, Pattnaik was not content with the hospital alone. Seeing the cattle getting injured again in accidents after they were released from the hospital, he decided to set up a cattle shelter.
He approached one of his friends who owned an agro-industry over five acre of land in Chhaitana village under Puri Sadar block.
“Since the industry was shut down for some reasons, I requested him to allow me to open a cattle shelter there and he agreed. After a few months, I opened Niladri Go Seva Ashram there replete with permanent cow sheds”, he said.
When the cattle shelter was severely damaged in the Fani cyclone in 2019, the former police officer spent Rs 9 lakh from his savings to repair the structure and develop its infrastructure.
Today, the ashram is home to 74 cattle including 26 bulls and entirely managed by him. “The injured stray cattle that undergo treatment at Sri Jagannath Go Seva Sansthan are now brought here. Along with nutritious fodder, the animals are given vitamins and veterinarians visit the ashram for regular checkups of the animals. “Efforts are now on to cultivate grass in the ashram land for meeting the feed needs of the cattle”, said 66-year-old Pattnaik, a resident of Puri. He visits the ashram daily and has given names to each of the inmate for the ashram.
Pattnaik meets the daily expenses of the ashram from his own pension and his daughter takes care of a major portion of the monthly rent and recurring expenses. This apart, Good Samaritans come forward to
help run the ashram.