Two days after 52 cows were reported dead in a
gaushala
in Ghumanhera, the authorities have started the process to shift about 1,500 bovines to Dwarka’s Surhera village.

On July 29, the toll had risen to 52 from 36. The new shelter is located about 8 km from the Ghumanhera
gaushala
.

Only 140 cows had been transported by Sunday afternoon. An official from the veterinary department of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) said the exercise is expected to take up to five days.

“Each truck can carry about four-five cows and each of them takes 15 minutes to board the vehicle,” he said.

About five to six people are required to handle a single truck, because of which sourcing adequate labour is also becoming difficult, he added.

Mohammad Nasheen, who is responsible for feeding the cows, said: “There is no water for the past four days and no veterinarian has come here for over two months.”

Though the shelter is meant for old or injured cows, the workers said it has not been accepting any animals for about two years.

Large portions of the nearly 25-acre plot had turned slushy following the rain.

Dead cows in mud

“We found many dead cows stuck in the mud,” said Nasheen.

After the incident was reported, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) set up pumps to remove the water. Government officials on Sunday visited the cow shelter, which stands among wheat farms on the Delhi-Haryana border. Officers from various agencies, including the Veterinary Department of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, the Delhi government, the DJB, the local Sub-divisional Magistrate and a special development commissioner, are coordinating efforts to transport the cows. Police personnel with guns have also been deployed at the spot. The trust which runs the shelter is accused of not paying its workers for the past eight months.

“We get about Rs. 500 once a week or so. Now that the cows are being taken away, we hope to get our pending salaries before we go back to our villages,” said one worker.

Shelter incharge Guru Chaya has been missing since the day the first cow deaths were reported. The police are currently on the lookout for her. The Delhi government is supposed to give about Rs. 165 per cow per day to registered cow shelters for their upkeep. It is unclear whether the shelter was receiving the money.

“If they were having problems, they should have raised a complaint earlier instead of waiting for so long,” said the local SDM.

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