Cattle grazing grounds must be made free of encroachment, demanded in Odisha’s Ganjam

Bhanjanagar: The cattle grazing grounds must be made free of encroachment – a social organisation from Bhanjanagar area in Ganjam district of Odisha, which works for the welfare of the Ghumsari breed of cattle, has demanded. Raising the complaint that the grazing and grasslands are shrinking at an alarming rate, the ‘Ghumusari Go-Prajati Bikash O Sangrakshyana Surakshya Samiti’ has demanded that grazing and grasslands (Gochar land) should be identified and be made free of encroachment in the Bhanjanagar Sub division. It has been said that the said encroachment is making it difficult for rural folks to rear cattle, which could have a deleterious impact on milk production.

The said organisation has complained that cattle grazing lands have been encroached. The social organisation has demanded that the encroached grazing lands should be freed from the grip of the illegal occupants so that cows and other livestock can freely graze there.

The organisation has complained that grazing lands are found in government records. However, there is no address of many lands from which mal intention can be smelled. Practically, many of the cattle grazing land patches are in possession of illegal occupants, but steps are yet to be taken to free these lands from their grip.

The organisation has raised voice for the cattle grazing lands under Bhanjanagar Sub division of Ganjam. Right to Information activists have sought answer from the administration in this regard. In villages under this sub division activists are sensitizing the public, especially the cow farmers.

As per reports, approximately 20,235 acres of cattle grazing land is there in the Bhanjanagar, Jagannathprasad, Buguda, Sorada, Aska, Belaguntha, Shergarh and Dharakot Tehsils under Bhanjanagar Sub Division of the district. However, many patches of this land have been encroached now while in some of these places construction work is going on. As a result, cows and other domestic livestock are missing out to graze in green fields. And so, when they are entering paddy fields to graze, they are facing the ire of the farmers. Now, as they are trying to enter the nearby forest to graze, restrictions by the Forest Department is becoming the hindrance. The result is that many cow farmers have so far left cattle farming.

As per reports, in the 8 tehsils under the Bhanjanagar Sub division there are more than 1000 cow farmers. Even there are about 600 cow farms. However, the cow farmers are yet to know the lands that have been identified as grazing lands.

As per information received through Right to Information (RTI), cattle grazing land in different villages of Bhanjanagar sub division is as follows: 845 acres of grazing land is there in the 6 revenue villages of Aska Tehsil; 1919 acres of grazing land is there in the 8 revenue villages of Bhanjanagar Tehsil; 1026 acres of grazing land is there in the 6 revenue villages of Belguntha Tehsil; 2019 acres of grazing lands are there in the 7 revenue villages of Buguda; 5046 acres of grazing lands in 6 revenue villages of Dharakot; 5574 acres of grazing land is there in the 8 revenue villages of Jagannathprasad; 3204 acres of grazing lands in the 8 revenue villages of Sorada and 608 acres of grazing land in the 7 revenue villages of Shergad Tehsil. Altogether, a total of 20,235 acres of grazing land is there in Bhanjaganar Sub Division.

Prior to the Settlement in Odisha there were 50 thousand acres of grazing lands in Ghumusar Sub division. However, after settlement it got reduced to 25 thousand acres of grazing land though as per RTI information the total land is 20,235 acres of land. That means about 60 per cent of the land has been reduced. The rest 40 per cent land is no more in the grazing land category – complained the said organisation.

Keeping all these factors in view, the “Ghumusari Go prajati Bikash O Sangrakhyana Surakhya Samiti” is sensitising the cow farmers in this sub division. The members of this social organisation are holding meeting in different villages. They have demanded the security of Ghumsari species of cattle and have asked to identify the grazing land.

Based on the report given by a Scientific Core Committee, Ghumusari cattle have been given the status of top grade livestock. Hence, the organisation has demanded security of this species of cows. If this would not be done, the cow farmers would put their cattle in front of the Tehsil offices, they have threatened.

As per government rule the five per cent of all the land under a revenue village should be spared as cattle grazing land. Nobody can forcefully encroach this. If necessary, these lands can be used for govt work or mass development. And rest of the lands should be kept free and suitable as grazing land. The senior advocates have said that the Tehsildar has been bestowed with the power to take out the encroachment from the possession of illegal encroachers.

Bhanjanagar Sub-Collector has said that based on the complaint filed by the said social organisation, directive has been issued to concerned officers for identification of cattle grazing lands under Bhanjanagar Sub Division.

Experts have opined that once the encroached grazing lands would be freed, cattle population would get the benefit which will indirectly benefit humans. People will get more milk, milk products and cow dunk. Besides, cow dunk is also instrumental to lower radiation that comes out of mobile towers.

The organisation has demanded identification of the cattle grazing land and it should be made free from illegal possession for the betterment of people.

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