Amritsar, January 31
Stray cows roaming around in the city and causing inconvenience to motorists is well known, but now farmers are counting losses as herds of animals stray into agricultural fields, especially during night, and damage crops.
In many areas of the district, especially alongside national highways and state highways, farmers have started using barbed fences to keep stray animals at bay. Sodhi Singh, a farmer of Baghiari village, said, “Stray cows keep sitting in vacant areas during the day as farmers keep a watch and shoo them away in case they enter the fields. However it is difficult to keep a watch at night.”
Farmers say most of the stray cows are of hybrid breed reared by dairy farmers. “These cows develop diseases and stop breeding and giving milk in some years. Once they stop producing milk, these become unprofitable for dairy farmers. Like every other venture, the business of dairy farming too is profit-oriented and as such cows are left to fend for themselves,” said Joginder Singh, a dairy farmer.
They say the number of stray cows is increasing with each passing year and at present these can be seen roaming in herds. Even in the city, herds of cows can be spotted on many roads.
In the city, over a dozen cows can be spotted grazing in the well-maintained green belts on the cantonment road every day. Residents say even though a large number of people offer chappatis and other food items, green fodder is essential for cows. “But at the same time, it is feared that a large population of animals would destroy green belts and continue to cause traffic problems,” said Bal Krishan Singh, a resident.
Residents say as the government is collecting cow cess on liquor, electricity and other items, it’s the responsibility of the government to take measures to send stray animals to shelters or introduce a legislation to fix accountability of the farmers for such condition of stray animals.