At least 45 cows, seized by the Border Security Force while being smuggled to neighbouring Bangladesh, died due to alleged neglect at a cow shelter being run by an NGO in Tripura.
The incharge of the cowshelter at Devipur in Sipahijala district, about 26 km from capital Agartala, said the cows died of 'hyperthermia' as they were kept in open due to paucity of space and there were incessant rains over the last six days.
The deaths took place during last three days starting from Sunday, officials said.
Altogether 159 cows, which were kept in a cattle shelter (Gaushala) have died since May 14 last, the officials said.
At present 700 cattle are lodged in the gaushala, Joshine Antony, in-charge of the cow-shelter, told reporters on Tuesday.
The cow shelter was constructed by a Delhi-based Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) on May 14 last following an agreement with the Tripura government for housing the animals seized by the Border Security Force personnel from cattle smugglers.
She said 45 cows died in the 'gaushala' in last three days as they were under open sky and drenched in rain water.
"There were incessant rains for the last six days and the 45 cows were in open sky, drenched in rains and died due to hyperthermia", she said.
After 40 cows died on Sunday and Monday, veterinary doctors from state government visited the shelter and collected samples like urine and blood, 'but the report is yet to reach us', she said.
"The cattle seized by the BSF in the BOPs two to three months back were shifted here by the BSF.
"It was an emergency situation as there were a lot of deaths happening in the BOPs and the BSF was not able to take care of them," she said.
"We took the responsibility of those cows, but till date we have not received any support from the state government," she claimed.
All expenditure is borne by the NGO, she said adding the state government only provided four acres of land for making the shelter.
When contacted, Director of state Animal Resources Development department, Dr Dilip Kr Chakma said the NGO started working for the past 2-3 months and had seized cattle from BSF.
"They have taken the responsibility for looking after the seized cows and the department has given four acres of land for temporarily utilization. Green fodder was not available. I have learnt that some cattle have died because of want of food," Chakma said.
Chakma said he had earlier asked the NGO to provide full quota of feed to the cows.
"On humanitarian grounds we have provided them land as they did not have land to accommodate to large number of cattle," the director said, adding at present there was only one cow shelter in the state.
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