Man secures 10,000 acres of grazing land for cows
The initiative is led by a retired electricity department employee and other like-minded citizens secured the land. He says pastures and not cow shelters will save the bovines.jaipur Updated: Jun 30, 2017 20:03 IST
Gauchar (pastures) and not gaushalas (cow-shelters) will save cows. A group of citizens have secured nearly 10,000 acres of grazing land in Bikaner city believing in this idea to establish a sustainable model for cow protection.
Led by Brij Narayan Kiradoo, a retired employee of the electricity department and popularly known as Birju Maharaj, the group has been fighting for three decades for the land, called Sarah Nathaniya Gauchar Bhoomi, against encroachment, hunting of animals, felling of trees and for the development of grass cover.
“People abandon male calves and sell spent cows because they do not have any economic utility and people have to spend on their fodder. If the same cattle have access to pastures, then they won’t be a financial burden on their owners,” said Kiradoo.
He claimed that nearly 30,000 cows graze on the land every day and the grazing land provides free fodder for nearly eight months a year. In addition, nearly 40 villages have an informal agreement for rearing their cattle in the secured grassland.
Kiradoo added that there are lakhs of stray cows in Rajasthan and it’s practically impossible to put them all in cow-shelters, as it would lead to huge and recurring costs to the government.
Bikaner tehsildar Ashok Aggarwal validated Kiradoo’s conservation efforts but is unsure about how successful it will be in saving cows.
“It’s true that Kiradoo’s conservation efforts of have been tremendous. Had it not been for him, a good part of the land would have been encroached upon by now. But I see stray cows in Bikaner city, so I cannot vouch for the model’s success with regard to cow protection,” said Aggarwal.
Ashok Choudhary, a civil servant-turned-activist working for sustainable development models in Rajasthan, lauded Kiradoo’s efforts and said that Sarah Nathaniya is a small ecosystem of its own.
“There are cattle, deer, rabbits, ponds, lakhs of trees and acres and acres of desert grass in the area,” said Choudhary. A strong advocate of conservation of pastures, Choudhary added that most of the pasture land in the state has been either encroached, lying barren or being used for farming and that securing pasture land in every village is the only way to save cows.