ANDHRA PRADESH

Cattle withstand drought!

SANGAREDDY, MARCH 11. Notwithstanding four consecutive years of drought and distress sale by farmers, the number of cattle in Medak district has actually gone up.

As per the 17th livestock census (2003-04), the number of white cattle has increased from 3,13,644 to 4,21,852 and black cattle from 2,28,739 to 3,67,350 when compared to the data in a survey conducted by the Animal Husbandry Department in 2002-03.

The Joint Director of the department, N. Yadagiri Rao, said that despite allegations that two major mechanical slaughterhouses in the district had devoured a large chunk of cattle population, the data gave an assuring picture.

Referring to the data that indicated a deep fall in the numbers, Dr. Yadagiri Rao said extra care had been taken in the census to correct lacunae. "The fall in number in Medak district is not true," he added.

Action plan for summer

The department prepared an Rs. 74.78 lakh-action plan to provide fodder to the cattle during summer this year. Farmers would be provided 171 metric tones of fodder seed, 100 metric tones of dry fodder and 155 metric tonnes of cattle feed.

The Joint Director said 15.5 tonnes of seed had been distributed in Sangareddy mandal, 40 metric tonnes in Siddipet, 30 metric tonnes in Zaheerabad and 29 metric tonnes in Narsapur mandals.

It had been estimated that green fodder to the tune of 32,175 metric tonnes would be available to cattle throughout summer.

Efforts were being made to tie up rice from the food assurance scheme for construction of water troughs for cattle and sheep in villages providing employment to the unemployed.