The rising water levels in the Narmada sub-canal near Bhimpura village claimed two blue bulls on Wednesday while volunteers and villagers managed to rescue five others,even as forest officials failed to respond to the villagers plea to save the animals.
According to the villagers,the blue bulls had gone down to the canal for grazing and drinking purpose and were swept in the strong current.
One bull blue drowned and six were rescued,of which one died on Thursday of hypothermia. Villagers alleged that while they,along with volunteers of the Gujarat Society for Prevention of Cruelty against Animals (GSPCA),struggled for hours to pull the animals to safety,none of the forest officials responded to their plea,and came to the place only on Thursday to collect one carcass.
Snehal Bhavsar of GSPCA said: We never thought that the situation would be so serious. But when we reached there,we realised that the Narmada Canal could be fatal for animals. Later,when we interacted with the local villagers,we came to know that this has been happening for long. Animals get down to the canal for grazing,and before they realise anything,the water level suddenly rises. We are going to discuss this issue with the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) authorities and the Irrigation Department.
Dilip Rathod,a farmer said: I just happened to see the bluebulls drowning and I immediately called up the NGO volunteers. Though bluebulls are damaging our fields,but it does not mean that we will allow them to drown in the water. There is no bluebull menace in my area and I felt that they must not be left just like that.
The Forest Department did not give a satisfactory reply as to why their officials did not reach the place on time to save the animals. We certainly reached the next day and our men brought the body of the animal to Vadodara. On the first day the water level was too high and it was impossible for us to rescue those animals, said Assistant Conservator of Forest S J Shaikh.