Greater Noida: More than a dozen cows have reportedly died of hunger at Greater Noida’s Jalpura Gaushala, a video of which is being widely shared on social media.
— Pankaj Parashar (@PANKAJPARASHAR_) March 25, 2021
But when ThePrint visited the cowshed Friday, the veterinary doctors there dismissed the videos saying they are old and that the cows are well taken care of at the shed.
“On 13 March, 11 severely injured cows were sent to the gaushala. Of which, 6 were as good as dead. We saved the other 5. It’s wrong to claim all 11 died here,” said Dr Prem Chandra, the head veterinary doctor.
“The video showing a lot of dead cows lying around is a very old video,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, Congress workers staged a dharna outside the cowshed, claiming they were allowed to enter the gaushala only at 1 pm after the administration “covered up” the scene.
‘Most cows sent here frail, old’
The cowshed currently shelters 1,915 cows. According to authorities of the shed, the shelter has the capacity to house 2,000 cows.
Cows of all sizes were seen roaming around the shed, constantly bleating for food. They looked frail and weak, with bones of some of them even protruding out.
There was one set of khora — where fodder is kept — that is shared by all the cows in the gaushala. There is one water tank, 100-metre long, for the animals to drink from.
Asked about the frail condition of the cows, a worker, who didn’t want to be named, said, “For starters, we only receive old and frail cows here.”
“Also, when we give them fodder, the healthier cows outrun the weaker ones for food, who are often left wanting for more,” he claimed.
Dr Chandra said that on an average, they buy 4-5 kg fodder for each cow on a daily basis. The fodder is mixed with dry straw and grains like chana. They are also fed fresh grass.
An official at the cowshed, who didn’t want to be named, claimed that the mortality rate at the shelter is extremely high only because they receive old, abandoned and severely injured bovines, who already have a short life expectancy.
Dr Chandra said on an average 2-3 cows die at the shelter every day.
He also claimed there was no fixed budget for the gaushala, and fodder or other infrastructural issues are met with “as per demand”. Asked about the size of the cowshed, Chandra said, “We haven’t measured it.”
There were reports of nearly half a dozen cows dying at the cowshed in September last year as well.
Dr Chandra said the cowshed was taken over by the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority last November, prior to which it was being run by an NGO.
As to what the government has done for the shelter after taking over, Dr Chandra said, “Earlier they didn’t have food. The shelter was dirty. Now we provide them with fodder all the time, have two doctors and two additional staff members on call. What else does a cow need?”
Congress workers cry foul
About 60-70 Congress workers had staged a protest outside the cowshed Friday and claimed they weren’t allowed to enter the gaushala when they reached there at 11 am.
They claimed they were allowed to enter only at 1 pm after the administration “covered up” the scene.
“I am a farmer. I know by looking at the ground that it was levelled after cows were buried inside. The administration says that the shed has a capacity of 2,000 cows … this is a big joke,” alleged Manoj Chaudhary, district Congress president of Gautam Buddha Nagar.
Ashraf Khan, a Congress worker, claimed he jumped the wall to enter the gaushala and allegedly shot a video of workers “trying to bury” a cow that was still alive and video of an injured cow lying unattended.
Sanjay Mahapatra, founder of Noida-based NGO House for Strays, reached the cowshed at around 2 pm with a team of doctors along with fodder.
“I make at least 4-5 calls to the shelter myself … they’re doing good work. However, at such a shelter, the government should provide at least 50-55 workers, including surgeons, 7-8 doctors, infrastructure like a laboratory, surgical room, X-ray facility, among other things, to take good care of the animals. However, all that is lacking right now,” he told ThePrint.
(Edited by Debalina Dey)