Even while the nation frets over the fate of cows and vigilantes crack down on so-called cattle smugglers, as many as 45 cows have died since January this year at a shelter in Bharatpur where rescued animals are sent.
Fifteen died in April alone, according to Nahar Singh, the district secretary of People for Animals after he visited the facility on Sunday.
The shelter – Shri Krishna Gaushala at Kalawata in Kaman block – had 450 heads of cattle, most of them “released” from cow smugglers by the police, at the end of 2016 - now there are 405 left.
According to Singh, 90% of the cows at the facility, which is funded by the state government, were sick.
The shelter in-charge, Ganeshanand, said he had no choice when the cattle was sent to the place.
“We are unable to take care of them for lack of funds for fodder and water,” he said.
He said the shelter got Rs32 per cow per day and Rs16 per calf, for a maximum of 90 days, towards payment for fodder and drinking water, which is not enough.
Bharatpur’s animal husbandry department joint director Yogendra Singh said a team of doctors had been sent to the shelter to examine sick cows.
“Cows die due to weakness because smugglers stuff them badly into trucks for transport,” he claimed.
There are 2,185 registered gaushalas (cow shelters) in Rajasthan, 12 in Bharatpur. The shelters had 668,697 cattle as of December 1, 2016.