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Sonitpur dist livestock rearers in dire straits due to flood problem

By ShambHu Boro

TEZPUR, July 26 - Over 100 cattle rearers in Bihaguri-Puthimari area of Sonitpur district are facing a tough time in rearing their livestock since the last two months due to the critical situation caused by three consecutive waves of flood fury unleashed by the mighty Red River.

In the Brahmaputra char areas, besides their agricultural activities, about 100 farmers of greater Bihauguri-Pithakhowa area have been practicing dairy farming since many years now, thereby producing milk and curd on a large scale to keep up with the demand of the local markets.

Dairy farmers who rear around 20 to 50 buffaloes each has to face a number of problems during the summer season.

It may be worthwhile to mention here that this year getting grazing grounds (chaporis) with green fodder has become a near impossibility, as the chaporis too have been inundated by the seasonal deluge.

This has obviously led to a severe shortage of green fodder for the cattle of the greater area. There are over 2,000 buffaloes in the area under reference which have been displaced due to the floods.

A well-known buffalo rearer named Thaneswar Nath of Pithakhowa Jakoroa Chuk area while describing the problems faced by them during the last two months mentioned that seeking new grazing grounds-cum-high land for their cattle had compelled them to shift their herds to Kolakuchi and Saraka haat area under Bandarmari Panchayat.

�However, though we are grazing our buffaloes here due to shortage of sufficient grazing ground, nevertheless we are facing an awkward situation. When we came here, we expected the local people to be friendly and helpful. But instead of helping us, some among them threatened to take our cattle. Amidst this crisis, we purchased many bighas of grassland for feeding our animals,� Nath mentioned.

�Unfortunately, some unscrupulous elements poisoned the grasslands, following which over 10 pregnant buffaloes have died, which is an irreparable loss for poor people like us,� he lamented.

The progressive farmer also informed that though the Veterinary Department was immediately apprised about the situation, apart from collecting blood samples from the carcasses for laboratory test, no other serious measure was adopted.

�Since this is our only source of livelihood, we therefore urge the Agriculture Minister to compensate us and also to instruct the Veterinary Department to organise a free veterinary camp to save our remaining livestock,� Thaneswar Nath said.

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