Tucked away in a secluded corner near the Bangalore – Hyderabad Highway, Satyam Shivam Sundaram (SSS) Gau Nivas remains abuzz with cow mooings and bird chirpings.
Touted as South India's largest cow shelter, the SSS is home to 5700 cows, mostly rescued from slaughterhouses, and 4000 pigeons.
The Gau Nivas has 100 workers on rolls who take care of animals and birds. Nearly 70 tonnes of grass and 3.5 tons of jaggery are fed to the animals sheltered in the rescue center. The monthly fodder bill is managed with the contributions made by the philanthropists.
"We started in 2001 with 200 cows. We had no proper infrastructure and no manpower. By 2017 we had 3000 cows in our shelter. We do not milk cows. Instead, we leave it for the calves. Every day we collect about 20 tons of cowpats and when dried, it is used in agriculture. We have hired a veterinarian for medical attention of cows," said Dharam Raj Ranka, a jeweler turned founder of SSS.
Firdousi, a Kashmiri worker, has been serving in the cowshed for the last eight years. A migrant from Kashmir, he left the state after the onset of militancy. "'I am working in this Cowshed for the last eight years. My father had also worked here and he motivated me to do this job. We migrated from Kashmir. My family is still in Kashmir valley. I send money to my wife every month. I have told my family to come here too," he said.
Most of the cows have been rescued from the slaughterhouses. Most of the rescued cows were being shipped from neighboring districts and states. "We also impose penalties and register a case on the importer. In Covid-19 lockdown, we have rescued around 200 cows and sheltered them in Satyam Shivam Sundaram," said a police officer.
Dharam Raj said they are also carrying out patrolling and those involved in illegal bovine smuggling are handed over to police. "In 2020, we rescued about 500 cows from the state," he said.
Sample this: An FIR was filed against Mohd Abdul Salman under section 5, 6, 10 R/w of Telangana Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act 1977 & Sec. 11(A) of prevention of cruelty to Animals Act 1960 of Shamshabad. He was transporting four cows and nine female calves to a slaughterhouse at Bahadurpura, Kandla House.
Shaik Irfan Pasha, a driver was caught on January 18 for transporting 28 calves. The accused was held while transporting the animals without precautions.
Another driver Sameer was carrying 23 calves. The vehicle was seized by Shamshabad Police and cows were sent to Satyam Shivam Sundaram Gau Seva.
Seeing the work of SSS, locals have joined the mission to save cows from being smuggled and slaughtered. A 1.5 km of the road has been after donors pledged contributions. The neighboring industries stayed away because they fear they would be on the radar of the agencies in case they pledge money.