Cornered by the Opposition Congress over the death of 500 cows at the Hingonia cow rehabilitation centre, the state government on Friday said the animals that died were ill and malnourished and were brought to the centre in July.
State animal husbandry department secretary Kunji Lal Meena said arrangements for protection of cows at the rehab centre were functioning effectively.
There are more than 8,000 cows at the rehab centre that are been taken care by a team of 14 doctors and 24 livestock assistants, he said.
“There was no negligence in providing treatment, fodder and water to cows at the centre. A few of the animals that died were ill, malnourished and old,” he said.
Meena said the number of cows at the rehab centre increased after a special campaign conducted against stray animals between July 15 and 31, in which 1,228 animals were rounded up and brought to the centre.
In June, 1,066 cows were brought to the centre and most of the animals caught were ill and malnourished, he said.
Due to incessant rain in the past 10 to 12 days, the ground at the centre turned muddy and slippery, which was being cleaned up so that the animals’ health was not affected, he said. He said in comparison to previous year, the state government has spent more for providing fodder and water for cows. In 2011-12, Rs 3.59 crore was spent, whereas the expenditure increased to Rs 10.78 crore in 2015-16. The water and fodder stock at the rehab centre is constantly monitored and week’s stock of fodder is maintained, he said.
The secretary said that 15 CCTV cameras are installed at the centre to monitor the health of the animals.
More than 200 employees are deployed to feed and treat ill animals. Duties roster of doctors at the rehab centre were being assigned and Rs 7.59 crore was spent in 2014-15 and Rs 2.16 crore in 2015-16 for constructing sheds and animal shelter at the rehab centre.
Rajasthan is the first and only state to have a government department specifically for cows. Otaram Dewasi holds the gaupalan portfolio.