Starving cattle

Starving cattle drought and an acute shortage of water have severely effected nearly 70,000 heads of cattle who face death due to starvation in the northern areas of Gujarat bordering Rajasthan. This year the problem has aggravated specially because of the tendency among villagers living in drought-prone areas to abandon livestock which are past their milking life.

With almost 70 per cent of its area prone to drought, Gujarat is the most scarcity-prone state in India. Around 27 per cent of the people in the state are vulnerable to drought. This situation has led to over-exploitation of groundwater and today some 42 talukas (administrative blocks) have only 15 per cent of the groundwater left.

This summer the state administration is concentrating on transporting water and cattle fodder to remote and parched villages. In the Banaskantha district of Gujarat and Jalore district of Rajasthan there are at least 20 camps in which 70,000 animals have been given shelter. But with every passing day the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Kalyan Parishad, the organisation that is looking after the animals, is finding it increasingly difficult to raise financial aid for food and medicine.

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