Aurangabad / Beed: Anil Andhale, a qualified lawyer and a farmer from Ashti in Beed district, is among the several farmers from the Marathwada region who have started feeling the pinch of the ban on slaughter of bulls and bullocks. Mr Andhale possesses 22 acres of land and eight animals, but consecutive droughts for four years, water shortage and hailstorms have destroyed his farms, and his cattle have become a burden.
Expressing his helplessness, Mr Andhale said he could not sell his animals, if they became unfit for farming. “The government’s decision to ban beef is not in the favour of farmers. The ban on bull slaughter has reduced the market price of old as well as good animals. Feeding unfit bulls is problematic for farmers. We have been left with no options, but to drop our animals in Mumbai or some remote place,” Mr Andhale said.
Kishor Kalkute, a Panchayat Samiti member at Pendgaon village of Beed district, narrated an incident in which sugarcane labourers were forced to accept animals in Pandharpur, instead of their wages. “The labourers were to get a certain amount for their six-month-long sugarcane cutting job. However, they were given lesser amount and one or two animals, as cattle cannot be killed as per the new law. The people do not know what to do with such animals when they become unfit for agricultural and dairy purposes,” Mr Kalkute said.
The government had promised to open cattle shelters for aged animals. However, these shelters are nowhere to be seen, farmers said. “Buying and selling animals is part of the rural economy. If a farmer needs money immediately, he sells animals. The beef-ban decision has also affected the prices of good animals.
A pair of bullocks used to cost Rs 1 lakh, which has declined to Rs 50,000, as the beasts do not have any resale value. Farmers have to spend Rs 500 per day for animals fit or unfit for work,” said Shankaranna Dhondge, an NCP MLA from Marathwada’s Loha constituency.
The scarcity of fodder and water is only making things worse for farmers. There are over 49 lakh animals in Marathwada region, and they need 7.97 lakh metric tonnes of fodder every month. Shetkari Sanghatana leader Ravikant Tupkar said that the organisation is going to protest against the ban on beef shortly....