Social media appeal ‘bales’ out cow shelter in Mannargudi

An farmer’s appeal for hay to feed cows goes viral

January 06, 2022 06:35 pm | Updated 06:35 pm IST - MANNARGUDI

A farmer’s appeal for hay to feed 33 cows at a ‘gaushala’ (bovine shelter) maintained by the Sri Rajagopalaswamy Temple in Mannargudi attracted a significant response and plenty of bales of dried grass was got thanks to the social media, even though the shortfall was eventually replenished by the shrine’s authorities on its own steam.

“I was saddened to hear about the shortage of hay for the cows at the shelter, and decided to put out a notification on our local WhatsApp group for farmers, on the night of January 4. Within two days, we had many people and shops calling in about sending bales,” U. Ravichandran, a paddy farmer and head of the Mannargudi farmers union, told The Hindu . “The heavy rains in recent weeks have led to a shortage of hay in our area,” said Mr. Ravichandran, who also donated bales worth ₹10,000 for the cause.

R. Sangeetha, Executive Officer of the temple, however clarified that the shortage was a temporary one, and it was independently solved by the authorities in a matter of days. “We regularly maintain a stock of 1500 bales of hay for the cow shelter at the end of the harvest season every year, and we bought hay alone for ₹ 2.5 lakh in 2021. The stockpile started reducing on December 21, following which we bought around 50 bales on that day, and replenished the supply soon after. But it was a struggle, because the wet weather had delayed the hay making process. We have never solicited donations for this and Mr. Ravichandran’s well-intentioned appeal was made without prior verification with us. In fact after the WhatsApp message, we have bought some 50 bales of hay at ₹270 per bundle for the gaushala , and also explained the situation to Mr. Ravichandran,” Ms. Sangeetha said.

The shelter provides 10 bundles of fresh grass and fortified fodder separately for the cows.

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