Agartala: At least 20 cattle, seized by the Border Security Force (BSF) from the India-Bangladesh international border that were kept at a cattle shelter in Devipur in Tripura’s Sepahijala district, were allegedly stolen on Monday.
While 200 cattle have missing so far, over 300 have died in the farm since May 14 this year after Dhyan Foundation, a Delhi-based NGO, started the cow shelter at Devipur after an agreement with the state government to shelter animals seized from border outposts (BOPs) across the state.
Speaking with EastMojo, Lata Rajan, in-charge of the cattle shelter, said, “We had a total of 593 cows here. But in the past six months over 200 cows were stolen from the farm, while more than 300 cows died in the same period.”
“We lodged an FIR on Tuesday after 20 cattle out of 24 which were handed over by the BSF went missing on Monday night. Taking advantage of the darkness, smugglers have stolen a number of cows from the farm but the police never filed an FIR until yesterday,” Rajan said.
Soon after the case was filed on Tuesday, the NGO has now started installing CCTV cameras in the farm to control incidents of theft.
“We are installing CCTV cameras to keep a track over the activities inside the firm. We are also marking the cows to keep a count. We have also hired five security guards and two more will be appointed soon,” Rajan added.
Meanwhile, locals here say that the the number of cattle dying till date is more than 400. The cow shelter house has manipulated the number to hide the reality.
Speaking with EastMojo, Madhupur police station officer-in-charge Bishnupada Bhowmik said, “We have lodged an FIR over the missing of 20 cattle from the farm. However, the number which is being claimed by the in-charge is doubtful since no case was registered earlier with the police station.”
The veterinary doctor who was working at the farm left a week ago and following his exit the cattle are not being attended on a regular basis resulting in their deaths.
“We have requested the ARDD department to provide with a veterinary doctor but due to the shortage of doctors, they could not provide us till date. The Sepahijala district magistrate has released some funds for the construction of cattle shelters and the work is going on. We have been allocated four acres of land but the demarcation is yet to be done,” Rajan said.
Talking about the number of people involved and the sum of amount spent per month in feeding the cattle in the shelter house, Rajan said, “We have 23 workers deployed in service of cattle and two para-veterinarians and one supervisor. The monthly cost incurred in care and maintenance excluding expenses of volunteers and costs of transportation of animals from different BOPs to Debipur is around Rs. 6.25 lakh for 420 cattle approximately.”
The Supreme Court, in a verdict on August 4, 2017, had said that the sale of cattle should be in consonance with the prevention of cruelty to the animal. The auction of seized cattle by customs is to be discontinued, the order had said.