The menace of stray cattle has hit Maharashtra as well with a fruit trader from Lasalgaon in Nashik district being gored to death. The death is the second instance of a man being gored by stray cattle in Nashik district, which has witnessed a spate of such attacks over the past month.
The total cattle population in Maharashtra, as per the 2012 All India Livestock Census, stands at 1.54 crore. The number of stray cattle is pegged at 1.54 lakh. While the findings of the 2018 Livestock Census will be made public only in the middle of 2019, officials suggest the number of stray cattle is expected to increase substantially due to the cow slaughter ban.
On Friday, Shaukat Abdul Ansari, a fruit trader from Lasalgaon in Nashik district, was standing outside his house when he was gored by a passing bull. On Sunday afternoon, Ansari succumbed to his injuries in Nashik Civil Hospital. “The cause of death is internal injuries that Ansari suffered after being attacked,” a doctor at Nashik Civil Hospital said.
On January 30, another trader, Jhumbarlal Mohanlal Bendmutha (77), died in Manmad after being gored by a stray cattle.
There have been a number of incidents in the district where people, especially old and young children, have been attacked by stray cattle.
Maharashtra’s bovine (cattle and buffalo) population is 2.10 crore as per the 2012 census, a decline of 5.3 per cent over the last census. The cattle population (1.54 crore) has declined by 4.3 per cent compared to the 2007 census. Stray cattle are counted separately from productive cattle.
Officials said the number of cattle in the state is bound to increase after the cow ban slaughter. According to them, apart from the productive animals the number of stray cattle is also expected to increase substantially in the recent census as farmers are abandoning old and infirm animals.
As of now, stray cattle account for around 10 per cent of the cattle population. Officials fear the number could rise to 15-20 per cent. Anticipating a growth in the number of old and abandoned cattle after the cow slaughter ban in 2015, the state government had come up with a plan to spend Rs 34 crore in setting up shelters for old and unproductive cattle. The government was to provide an initial seed money of Rs 1 crore for setting up these shelters in 34 districts as well as providing land to interested parties. The scheme, Govardhan Govansh Raksha Kendra, was to be run with the help of voluntary organisations. Implementation is, however, slow. Till last year, only 21 such centres had been given initial approval.