Skip to main content

Gujarat's 70% high breed Kankrej cow "destroyed". Reason? Forest dept promoted a poisonous wild weed

Ramzanbhai: In black bandi
By Our Representative
Kankrej, one of the best cow breeds in the world originating in Kutch, Gujarat, has suffered a major decline by about 70% because of the environmental destruction caused by the state forest department's "faulty" policy to promote a wild weed called gando baval. Once sown, the wild weed spreads like wild fire, devouring all types of vegetation, one reason it is called gando or mad baval (tree) in Gujarat.
Talking to media ahead of the inauguration of a pastoralists' exhibition in Ahmedabad, Kutch pastoralists gathered there to promote their way of life and products, ranging from hand woven clothes to camel cheese, told news persons that gando baval "ate away" huge portions of one of Asia's best grasslands, Banni in Kutch, leading to "untimely death of more thanm70% of the Kankrej cows."
"There were more than one lakh Kankrej cows in the Banni area, which has 19 village panchayats, two decades ago. Currently, their numbers are down to about 30,000, and the main reason for this is that the cows began eating the little indigestible pods of gando baval in the absence of grass at several places. They just couldn't digest them and would die", said Ramzanbhai Isa Halenputra, a cow breeder for several decades.
"The result is", he said, "There are more buffaloes than cows in the area. The wild weed does not impact buffaloes, one reason why we have shifted to breeding them instead of the Kanjrej cow. The Banni buffaloes eat very little, and produce lots of milk, one reason why Kutchi pastoralists are depending on them for their livelihood." Currently, Brazil is said to be the saviour the highly valued cow breed, giving up to 50 litres of milk.
The "faulty" state forest department policy of promoting gando baval in Banni, introduced into the local ecosystem by the erstwhile rulers of Kutch and Saurashtra five decades ago, was partially rejected in 2005, when the state government reached the conclusion that it was not only attacking grasslands but also forest areas.
Imported from Mexico to arrest the advance of the desert and protect coastal crops from harmful saline winds, the state forest department found gando baval the easiest way to show that greenery was flourishing under its guidance and control.
To quote an expert observation, "Prosopis juliflora, which is the wild weed's generic name, turned out to be an environmental monster, growing at lightning speed, enveloping the farmlands and rendering them infertile. It deprived cattle of their sustenance, devastating the local economy. The groundwater table in Banni dropped, given that the gando baval guzzles enormous quantities of water as it spreads over dry terrain."
To fight gando baval, the state government legalised the business of making charcoal from wild babool. This charcoal is of high quality, and is much in demand as fuel by local industrial units. "The decision not only changed the economy of the region; it also positively impacted the Banni grassland", the expert observation said. Ramzanbhai agrees, "The spread of the gando baval has stopped as a result, but has not helped recover the lost ground."
Organized by the Centre for Pastoralism, the four-day exhibition, titled Living Lightly, has brought together pastoralists from different parts of the country to speak about their efforts, experiences, feats, and failures. It has seen the camel breeders enter into an agreement with Amul to distribute the highly nutritious camel milk for Rs 55 per litre.
To promote camel milk, which is known to fight diabetes, the Gujarat government, it was announced, has given Rs 2.75
crore to the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation to setup a separate chilling plant for camel milk to give a great fillip to the camel breeders who on an average will earn 2.5-3 lakhs every year by selling their milk.

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

ASI has 'no funds' to protect five centuries old Goa church, a World Heritage Site

Counterview Desk
The century-old All-India Catholic Union (AICU), the largest Laity movement in Asia, has blamed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for neglecting the historic Bom Jesu church by keeping its ceilings  open to the vagaries weather, with no steps  taken to protect the five century old monument from damage on account of impending rains on the lame excuse that there are "no funds". In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AICU simultaneously asks the Government of India to devise a "comprehensive" national social security safety net, universal health Insurance and medical Infrastructure so that the “calamity” that has befalenl millions of migrant labour and jobless rural and urban poor in “the Covid pandemic-driven lockdown is “never repeated.”

Withdraw sedition charges against three young women activists: 1100 feminists

Counterview Desk
About 1,100 feminists from all over India – organisations and individuals across religion, class, caste, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and genders – have issued a solidarity statement condemning what they have called “the targeted crackdown on Muslims and women activists in Delhi”, who were at the forefront of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Tablighis or Namaste Trump? Rupani must 'clarify' on origin of Covid-19 in Gujarat

By Mujahid Nafees* In his video communication on April 24, 2020, chief minister Vijay Rupani informed us that in the month of March the Gujarat government had quarantined 6,000 people returning from abroad in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. He further asserted that the spread of Covid-19 was caused by the tablighis returning from Nizamuddin in Delhi. His statements were widely publicized and given front page coverage by some local dailies.

Coping with Covid-19? Options before small, marginal farmers of rainfed regions

By Biswanath Sinha, Kuntal Mukherjee*
The global crisis due to Covid-19 has hit after reaching in western Europe. India’s response to curtail the spread of the disease was quite decisive. It announced a Janata curfew on the March 22, followed by a complete national lockdown from the midnight of March 24.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”