The culling of nilgai by professional shooters in Bihar’s Mokama area comes at the end of a long period of hostility when the animals came to be seen as a “menace” for farmers.
The crop-raiding species is found on acres of agricultural fields in riverine areas of the Ganga and Gandak basins. Bihar’s farmers, especially in Bhojpur, Buxar, Saran, Champaran, Gopalgunj, Siwan, Sasaram, Munger, Bhagalpur, Begusarai and Patna districts, have been demanding a licence from the State government to cull the blue bulls.
“Every year, they have been destroying our wheat, pulses, maize and vegetable crops worth lakhs of rupees … the government was not allowing us to eliminate them,” Vijay Kumar Choubey, a Buxar-based farmer said.Puja performed
Last year, farmers of Saran district performed ‘puja’ to keep them away. They requested Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during one of his visits to save their crops.
At some places, farmers also put up electric wire fencing and barricades, said a Mokama farmer, Kanhaiya Singh. An official of the Agricultural Department said the nightmare to the farmers grew steadily as “blue bulls breed twice a year”. He denied that blue bulls were being culled for meat.
“The word ‘gai’ [cow] is part of nilgai and it is considered sacred,” he added.
Last year, the Bihar Agricultural Management and Extension Training Institute had organised a workshop attended by the Chief Conservator of Forests, wild life experts and activists but the nilgai problem had grown. The State Board of Wild Life in May 2015 decided that Bihar would declare blue bulls vermin.