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289 seized cattle die along border amid ongoing lockdown

By RAJU DAS

SHILLONG, April 24 - Amid the ongoing nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 289 heads of seized cattle have perished in the past one week along the international border with Bangladesh due to illness and lack of basic facilities.

The BSF looks after the cattle which it seizes on the border, at the border outposts. The border guarding force said that the ongoing lockdown has affected the condition of the seized cattle. Uncontrolled death of cattle may lead to spread of diseases, the BSF further cautioned.

�In the past one week, 289 cattle died at the border outpost in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya due to various reasons including illness and lack of proper infrastructure,� UK Nayal, BSF Deputy Inspector General and Press Relations Officer, said today. These cattle were later buried by the BSF troops.

Most of these cattle are those seized from smugglers by the BSF. Technically, these cattle should be handed over to the Customs Department or the State administration and auctioned, but that has not happened lately. For the last one year, neither the Customs Department nor the State police has taken care of the seized cattle or auctioned them.

This has forced the BSF to look after these cattle at the Muktapur, Pyrdiwah, Lyngkhat, Bholaganj and Rinku BOPs in East Khasi Hills district.

�There are an estimated 1,700 cattle in these BOPs and our men are taking care of them,� Nayal said. He pointed out that the BSF has been facing severe problems �due to lack of infrastructure and wherewithal�.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing lockdown have only aggravated the problem. The BSF is battling to keep the seized cattle alive, the official said.

Since the BSF does not have the requisite infrastructure or is mandated to look after the cattle, these animals are kept in the open without any shed, exposing them to adverse weather conditions, leading to illness and death.

Meanwhile, as a temporary arrangement, the BSF Frontier Headquarters here has provided 4,000 kg of cattle fodder to the BOPs. Moreover, tarpaulins have also been provided so that temporary sheds could be arranged for the cattle.

Appealing to the State Government to come forward to assist them in this regard, Nayal said that the BSF, along with the civil society, has made a very modest effort and will continue to try saving these animals. But the State Government must step in, he stressed.

Echoing him, BSF Inspector General, Meghalaya Frontier, Kuldeep Saini said that there is an urgent need to address the problem and the State authorities have been requested to pay attention to the crisis.

Cattle are smuggled from Meghalaya to Bangladesh through the porous borders.

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289 seized cattle die along border amid ongoing lockdown

SHILLONG, April 24 - Amid the ongoing nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 289 heads of seized cattle have perished in the past one week along the international border with Bangladesh due to illness and lack of basic facilities.

The BSF looks after the cattle which it seizes on the border, at the border outposts. The border guarding force said that the ongoing lockdown has affected the condition of the seized cattle. Uncontrolled death of cattle may lead to spread of diseases, the BSF further cautioned.

�In the past one week, 289 cattle died at the border outpost in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya due to various reasons including illness and lack of proper infrastructure,� UK Nayal, BSF Deputy Inspector General and Press Relations Officer, said today. These cattle were later buried by the BSF troops.

Most of these cattle are those seized from smugglers by the BSF. Technically, these cattle should be handed over to the Customs Department or the State administration and auctioned, but that has not happened lately. For the last one year, neither the Customs Department nor the State police has taken care of the seized cattle or auctioned them.

This has forced the BSF to look after these cattle at the Muktapur, Pyrdiwah, Lyngkhat, Bholaganj and Rinku BOPs in East Khasi Hills district.

�There are an estimated 1,700 cattle in these BOPs and our men are taking care of them,� Nayal said. He pointed out that the BSF has been facing severe problems �due to lack of infrastructure and wherewithal�.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing lockdown have only aggravated the problem. The BSF is battling to keep the seized cattle alive, the official said.

Since the BSF does not have the requisite infrastructure or is mandated to look after the cattle, these animals are kept in the open without any shed, exposing them to adverse weather conditions, leading to illness and death.

Meanwhile, as a temporary arrangement, the BSF Frontier Headquarters here has provided 4,000 kg of cattle fodder to the BOPs. Moreover, tarpaulins have also been provided so that temporary sheds could be arranged for the cattle.

Appealing to the State Government to come forward to assist them in this regard, Nayal said that the BSF, along with the civil society, has made a very modest effort and will continue to try saving these animals. But the State Government must step in, he stressed.

Echoing him, BSF Inspector General, Meghalaya Frontier, Kuldeep Saini said that there is an urgent need to address the problem and the State authorities have been requested to pay attention to the crisis.

Cattle are smuggled from Meghalaya to Bangladesh through the porous borders.