Cattle chew on fodder grown in polluted Bellandur lake

Milk from these cows could also be toxic, feel experts

Cattle chew on fodder grown in polluted Bellandur lake

There is a section of people making brisk business in the troubled waters of Bellandur lake.  Livestock in the rural patches in Bengaluru is dwindling. But whatever cattle remain in the metropolitan city depend on fodder grown in Bellandur and other lakes.

The kind of fodder found alongside water hyacinth (‘Sona Hullu’ in Kannada) grows easily without any investment. Its ‘harvesters’ sell the fodder to various goshalas or cattle sheds and to farmers rearing cattle in the city at an affordable price.

“We sell a trolley-load of fodder for Rs 150 to Rs 200. We sell between 10 and 12 loads a day to various goshalas in the city,” said Manjunath, engaged in the work.

His entire family is in the business of harvesting, transporting and selling fodder. The family members use canoes to get into Bellandur lake to harvest fodder. Once it is brought to the shore, they bundle it and place it on the trolleys of their autorickshaw and mini trucks.

“Most of the fodder goes to dairy farms in Koramangala and Shivajinagar,” said Manjunath.

However lush green the fodder appears, it is as poisonous as the water of Bellandur lake. Professor T V Ramachandra of Centre for Sustainable Technologies in Indian Institute of Science said the fodder contains metals and chemicals which are dangerous for consumption. If cows eat it, then their milk would also be equally dangerous.

“We have polluted the lake and now we are paying the price for it. Not just fodder, but also vegetables grown downstream of Bellandur and Varthur lakes are poisonous. Not only elders, even children are developing kidney-related problems, which is highly unusual and is a concern,” he said.

Ramachandra said he had warned the government almost a decade ago to protect water bodies. The government did not pay heed and now everybody is paying the price for it, he said.

Sunil Duggar, who runs a goshala in Koramangala, said he never buys fodder from Bengaluru. “I prefer bringing it from Mandya, Hassan or Shivamogga. Here, the fodder is poisonous. If it is fed to the cattle, the milk will be equally poisonous,” said Duggar.
DH News Service

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