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Friday, Aug 16, 2019

Rescued from smugglers, 159 cows die of malnutrition in Tripura cattle shelter

The NGO which runs the cow shelter claims the animals were already malnourished and some were suffering from foot and mouth disease when they when they were handed over to them by the Border Security Force (BSF).

india Updated: Jul 22, 2019 18:08 IST
Priyanka Deb Barman
Priyanka Deb Barman
Hindustan Times, Agartala
Rescued cows at a cattle shelter in Tripura’s Sepahijala district.
Rescued cows at a cattle shelter in Tripura’s Sepahijala district.(HT PHOTO)

At least 159 cows rescued by the Border Security Force (BSF) from being smuggled into Bangladesh over the past several months have died of malnutrition and hypothermia at a cow shelter in Tripura’s Sepahijala district since May, according to an NGO which looks after the cow shelter.

Joshine Antony, volunteer in-charge of the Delhi-based NGO Dhyan Foundation, claimed 45 of the cows died of hypothermia as they were in open space due to lack of sheds during few days of incessant rain and suffered from cold and shock in the second week of July. She also said a total of 159 cows have died in the shelter since May this year.

The shelter at Sepahijala , 22 kilometers South of Agartala has 40 workers and three NGO volunteers living on site to look after the cows. The shelter currently has 700 cows, Antony said.

The NGO which started the shelter in February provides medicine and other support to the rescued cattle. In May, the animals were transported to the cattle shelter constructed by the NGO on four acres of land allotted by state government. The NGO claims the cattle were already malnourished when they were handed over to them.

“The seized cattle handed over to us since May were malnourished. Some of them were affected by Foot and Mouth Disease. Some were also suffering from after-effects of drugs administered to them during smuggling,” Antony said.

“We have asked the state government for regular medical facilities, health check-up and sufficient fodder for the cattle here. Veterinary doctors’ visit is rare here. Moreover, new cattle are coming frequently and we need more land to accommodate the cattle. But, we are yet to get any positive response from the government,” said Rahul Roy, another volunteer of Dhyan Foundation.

The state Animal Resources Development Department (ARDD) denied all the allegations and said they provided veterinary doctors and medical facilities to the NGO whenever asked for.

“As per agreement, we have given them four acres of land and they need to build the rest to shelter the seized cattle. We have provided medicines, veterinary experts to check status of the cattle’s health whenever they asked for. But, we too, have certain limitations. And it is really unfortunate that they are blaming us despite of our cooperative attitude,” said ARDD director Dr. Dilip Kumar Chakma.

“The cattle died of malnutrition in the cow shelter few days back as per the post mortem report,” Dr. Chakma said.

Dhyan Foundation volunteers also claimed that 150 other cows died in the Border Out Posts (BOP) before they could be transported to the NGO cattle shelter.

A BSF official on the condition of anonymity said the BOPs don’t have sufficient facilities for looking after livestock and therefore, some of the rescued cows died before they could be handed over to the NGO.

First Published: Jul 22, 2019 18:08 IST

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