The order of the Karnataka forest department to limit the number of cows and cattle in Chamarajanagar district of the state has triggered a controversy.
The people are questioning the authorities that while the ruling BJP government is busy in cow chanting, they are surprised by the order.
Opposing the move, the farmers and organisations have threatened to stage a protest if the government fails roll back the order.
In a public notice, the forest department has asked the farmers of Gopinatham and surrounding villages which fall under the jurisdiction of the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary have asked farmers to limit the number of cattle, especially cows to their minimum needs.
The forest department is claiming that due to grazing by the cows, buffaloes, goats and others, the greenery is vanishing. The department has also issued a warning to people that the additional livestock must be shifted to other places. The order has also stated that legal action would be taken if the cattle is left for grazing into the forest area.
Honnur Prakash, District President of the Karnataka Raitha Sangha said that the farmers will stop rearing cows if the forest department personnel can only eat trees and live. When the government is making laws to protect cows, the forest department is saying that cows should not be reared.
The Supreme Court has clearly stated that people who live in the fringes of the forest have all the right to leave their animals to graze in the forests. Even then the forest department has issued this notice, he stated.
Locals explain that former Deputy Conservator of Forests Yedukondalu. V. had won the hearts of local people by taking measures to save the local Hallikar variety of cows. He also took initiatives to prepare ghee and market it for the benefit of locals. However, the recent order after the visit of the central team to the reserve forest has antagonised the people.