The State government told the High Court of Karnataka that there is sufficient stock of fodder that would last for a minimum of next 13 weeks to take care of cattle in all the 156 drought-affected taluks, and pointed out that availability of fodder is evident from the consistent milk procurement level between January and May this year.
Also, the government stated the stock of fodder in 56 taluks, which are situated in irrigated/partially irrigated areas, would last for another 18 weeks and there is no problem of fodder in Malnad and coastal areas. The fodder stock as on May 13 is 62.6 lakh tonnes, the State said.
A statement in this regard was submitted before a Division Bench comprising Justice S. Sujatha and Justice S G Pandit during the hearing of two PIL petitions, filed by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority and N.P. Amrutesh, a city-based advocate, on the impact of drought on cattle.
The government also said that the restrictions have been imposed on transport of fodder to outside the State to ensure that sufficient quantity of fodder was available for the consumption of cattle within the State.
“The management of fodder availability is depicted in the milk procurement date from the KMF, which shows that there is no drop in the milk procurement by the milk unions,” it has been pointed in the statement filed by Secretary, Animal Husbandry Department. The milk procurement was 71.72 lakh kg/day in January this year, and it was 69.25 lakh kg/day in February, 69.17 lakh kg/day in March, 70.22 lakh kg/day in April and 73.52 lakh kg/day in May, the government said quoting data from the KMF.
The government also told the court that 21 temporary goshalas (cattle camps) have been established based on the need in different districts in addition to giving financial assistance to 159 permanent goshalas run by NGOs for temporarily housing cattle wherever farmers are no in a position to maintain them owing to drought. Farmers are not prepared to keep milch cattle in goshalas and the government is providing green fodder seeds at subsidised prices for such farmers, it has been said in the statement.