GREATER NOIDA: At least 200 cows have died in the past two months at a gaushala in Ecotech 3, three months after chief minister Yogi Adityanath directed the authorities to shift all strays to shelters.
The cow shelter currently houses 1,200 bovines, out of which 800 were sent there by Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) between January 1 and March 7. The cows died due to poor health and malnutrition as most of them were strays and the shelter didn’t have funds to buy enough fodder, officials said.
Staffers at Gau Lok in Ecotech 3’s Jalpura village claimed that 3-4 cows die in the shelter on a daily basis. The shelter, which is spread across nine acres, was established a decade ago by the GNIDA and is being run in collaboration with GoRas Foundation, an NGO, since December 2017.
Gau Lok officials said animals died due to various health issues. “Cows have been dying despite the best care given by our staff. We have employed 26 people to take care of the bovines. Most of the dead were strays. Strays come from open space to a gated campus here, where they fight with other animals and get injured. Moreover, most of them already had prolonged illnesses,” said Nagendra Kumar, the head of staff.
He added that though over 65% of the cows currently at the shelter are strays sent by the GNIDA in the past two months, the Authority has not given them any funds for the animals. “Two months ago, we had only 450 bovines in the shelter and we used to buy 2,800kg of fodder daily. After the increase in the number of animals, the amount of fodder required to feed the bovines has almost tripled, and we now buy almost 7,000kg of fodder daily. Despite the rise, we haven’t received any financial aid from GNIDA in the last three months, except personal donations by a few officials. The Authority has promised us additional land and Rs 5 lakh, but till we get them, we need funds to feed the animals,” Kumar said.
Senior GNIDA officials, however, denied allegations of overcrowding and said that the animals died due to “natural” causes.
“GNIDA conducts check-ups of the animals on a regular basis. The cows that died were sick, which resulted in their deaths. We have sanctioned 16 acres of land for the expansion of the cow shelter. An amount of Rs 5 lakh was also sanctioned on Thursday as funding. The required steps are being taken to stop further deaths,” said Deep Chand, additional CEO, GNIDA.
Nitin Bhati, an activist from neighboring Sirsa village, said, “I visited the shelter three days ago. It isn’t equipped to handle the number of animals that are there. Most of the cows are dying because there is not enough food for them.”