A thoroughbred Nili Ravi buffalo, gifted to Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal during his visit to Pakistan last year, has become the focus of research at Guru Angad Dev University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (GADVASU) here.
The buffalo had been gifted by Pakistan Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif. It reached India through the Attari border on May 3 this year. It remained in quarantine in New Delhi for around 25 days. Thereafter, Sukhbir asked GADVASU to use it for reviving the indigenous buffalo in Punjab.
"During a meeting on a project to revive the Nili Ravi in Punjab in February, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had promised to hand over the buffalo gifted to the deputy CM. We received it on May 29," GADVASU vice-chancellor Dr VK Taneja told Hindustan Times.
The Nili Ravi buffalo arrived in India with other breed of cattle from Pakistan, including three Sahiwal cows, one Sahiwal bull, two other Nili Ravi buffaloes, one Nili Ravi bull, three sheep (Balthi breed) and one ram (Balthi breed).
The Badals brought the cattle from Pakistan by spending Rs 16.71 lakh from their own pocket. These animals are now part of their farm at Badal village in Muktsar district.
With GADVASU already working on a project to revive the Nili Ravi breed in Punjab, the arrival of this pure-bred buffalo has given a fillip to research in this area. "Traces of the Nili Ravi are found in buffaloes in Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur districts.
The absence of a pure-bred buffalo had been limiting our work. Now, we are on course to reviving the buffalo breed, which has the capacity to bring another while revolution in Punjab," the V-C added.
Dr Taneja said the Badals had been enquiring about the 'special guest' ever since the university had received it.
Kept in a special buffalo cell in the dairy, the Pakistani gift is getting special treatment and care. A special case history is being prepared to study its features.
Found in Pakistan, the Nili Ravi is similar to the Murrah (also a high-yield milchy buffalo) except for white markings on its extremities and eyes. It is black in colour and has short horns, which are less curled than those of the Murrah. A Nili Ravi buffalo gives around 35-litre milk everyday.
The university has already written to the state animal husbandry department to arrange Nili Ravi bulls and pure semen. "Our experts are carrying out an extensive study on this buffalo. Once we complete it, we will be able to develop the breed," the V-C said.