Animals became mute victims of floods in Chikhli, Ambewadi
As families in Sangli and Kolhapur pick up pieces of their lives and try to rebuild their homes after the recent floods, the reality of loss of livestock has started to surface. The farmers have started to report missing and dead animals to the administration.
“I had four jersey breed cows. On Tuesday (August 6), when the water started coming in, we took the animals to a temple which is located at a certain height. I sent my family members to the rehabilitation centre on Tuesday and I stayed back for the animals. But late on Tuesday night, the water rushed in with force and took all the cows with it. The next morning, the place where we had tied them was empty,” said Jaysingh Mahadev Patil, 45, a resident of Mhasoba Mala area of Prayag Chikhli village in Kolhapur district.
Of the four cows, one was 9 months pregnant and was to deliver a calf in the next two months. “When the animals were washed away, I did not find any reason to stay back. So I went back to my family with the help of rescue teams,” said Patil.
With 1,000-2,000 families residing in the village, sarpanch Sambhaji R Patil found that at least 150 animals were dead and stuck in the fields. The exact number of lost animals from the village could not be ascertained by the sarpanch.
“We have sprinkled the prescribed chemicals - slaked lime, bleach powder - and then found burial places for the disposal of these animals. These are mostly cows, buffalos and calves,” said sarpanch Patil.
Jaisingh Patil’s family of four survived solely on the income made by the cows. “With one pregnant cow, we drew 40 litres of milk per day and earned ₹15,000-16,000 per month. The fodder required per month was worth ₹ 11,000. That left us with ₹4,000-5,000 as our income. With the animals gone, I have no idea how I’m going to run this family.”
Anil Shankar Patil, 45, also a resident of the same area, had four buffalos, one cow and two bulls. Of the four buffalos, one was 8 months pregnant.
“We shifted the bulls to a building nearby and moved the buffalos on a platform outside my house which is three-feet tall. We couldn’t move the pregnant buffalo and kept her inside. We kept feeding the ones on the platform from our roof but the pregnant one died. We found her when the water went down,” said Anil Patil who owns a sugarcane field and does not depend on the milch animals for livelihood.
In yet another incident, a heavily pregnant buffalo belonging to Sagar Kurane, a man in his 30s, a resident of Chikhli, had delivered a still-born calf after the flood water had washed her away.
“We only have two animals - this buffalo and a calf. She was about to deliver when the floods hit. We had tied her with other animals from the village in a nearby gurhaal (sugarcane crusher) building as the water entered. When the water current increased, she was washed away as her rope snapped and someone caught hold of her,” said Kurane.
“With hardly any food for almost a week the buffalo’s body, which had suffered multiple injuries, delivered a still-born calf with the help of veterinary doctors on Friday. She is not able to produce as much milk as she used to,” said Kurane.
According to veterinary doctors , all the animals which were tied up were confined to one place with their necks stretched upwards. The animals remained in that position for almost a week. The survivors have swollen feet, visible and invisible injuries, and infections.
The villages of Chikhli and Ambewadi suffered as the water levels of the Panchganga river rose. With punchanamas of the houses in its concluding phase, the count of how many animals were affected is yet to be taken.