BOSE DEVARAHATTI (CHITRADURGA):Fodder scarcity due to severe drought has led to the death of nearly 20 temple cattle (Devara Eththu) in various parts of Challakere taluk of the district.
Even after opening eight cattle shelters, it is not sufficient to meet the growing demand of cattle owners. The strength of cattle at cow shelters is increasing as cattle from neighbouring districts are also brought to Chitradurga district.
A visit to Bose Devarahatti, Bangara Devarahatti, Obadevarahatti, Nayakanahatti, Nannivala and other villages of Challakere taluk presents a grim picture of the holy cattle living in vulnerable state. Some Kilaris (those who rear these cattle) are driving their cattle to the semi-Malnad region in search of water and fodder as Challakere has not received sufficient rain this year too.
The cattle is mainly reared by Myasa Nayaka community or Valmiki Bedaru or Nayaka community in separate cattle sheds. These cattle are being gifted to temples by the Valmiki community people in order to serve their tribal gods and reared by the priests of the particular gods who are also called as Kilaris.
The mysterious death of cattle at Bangaradevarahatti and Bose Devarahatti has raised concern among the villagers. About 20 cattle have succumbed in this area.
Speaking to Express, Kilari Palaiah said: “The cattle died despite opening a cow shelter in the region. When we went for investigation, it was found that these cattle consumed plastic.”
He also said, “Generally we take these cattle to graze in the forest areas.
However, after the science institutions fenced thousands of acres of Kaval land in Khudhapura, Varavu and Ullarthy villages, we have to graze them on the roadside, during which they ate plastic, papers and some other items.”
A villager Obadevarahatti Boraiah said: “The government has not implemented plastic ban effectively. This has led to extensive use of plastic especially in the rural areas, plastic ban should be strictly implemented.”
Another villager Kilari Chinnanna said: “The Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry should make regular visits to the cow shelters and villages if a large number of cattle deaths take place. We request the district administration to take the issue seriously, send a team of veterinarians to the spot and also open up more cow shelters.”
Deputy director of the department Prasanna Kumar said: “The issue has not come to our notice. However, we will direct the officials of the department to visit the spot and report about the issue. Suitable treatment will be given to cattle if needed.”