February 7, 2016 8:17:32 pm
In first major accident involving wild animals and Narmada project in Saurashtra, a herd of 24 blue bulls fell in Botad Branch Canal of Narmada and two of them were killed in the cold water , in Ranpur taluka of Botad district late on Saturday night.
The incident took place at Keriya village, some five kilometres north of Ranpur town. Forest officers said that the herd of 24 blue bulls fell in the Botad Branch Canal of the Narmada project after being chased by farmers.
“We suspect, farmers were chasing this herd when it fell in the Narmada canal at around 4:30 pm on Saturday. There was four-feet deep water in the canal and the antelopes were washed around one kilometre downstream. But around 500 residents of Keraliya volunteered to rescue the stranded animals,” Chatur Chudasama, range forest officer (RFO) of Ranpur told The Indian Express on Suday.
Officers said that the rescue operation went on for eight hours. “Shocked bule bulls were trying to swim for their life but were unable to jump out of the canal. Eventually, volunteers pulled them out with the help of ropes. However, the canal water was very cold and a sub-adult male and a female died minutes after being rescued. The remaning 22 ran away after being pullued out of the canal. The rescue operation went on till 12:30 am on Sunday,” Chudasama further said.
The RFO said that there is no forest area in Ranpur but population of bule bulls, popularly called nilgai is thriving. “The area is rich agriculturally. But blue bulls are damaging standing crops. We have been receiving complaints from farmers every other day about these wild animals damaging their crops. I suspect, farmers were chasing this herd of 24. When they encountered the canal while running away from farmers, they had no option but to jump in the canal,” said Chudasama.
The RFO further said that since the incident took place in revenue area, nobody was booked. “We have prepared panchnama and drafted ground report about the incident. We have also recorded statement of village sarpanch and prepared a report on the disposal of carcasses of the two blue bulls which were killed. We shall send a detailed report about the incident to our division office in Ahmedabad,” Chudasama added.
Botad Branch Canal brings Narma water from Saurashtra Branch Canal which flows in Surendranagar. The canal supplies irrigation water to farmers of Surednranagar and Botad districts and helps irrigate cash crops like cotton and cumin-seed and fodder.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines