Fodder supply hit in Chandigarh amid lockdown, prices hiked steeply

Saurabh Prashar
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Milkmen from Maloya and Dhanas have complaint of shortage in fodder supply

TAKING advantage of the curfew imposed in Chandigarh and Mohali, fodder suppliers blocked the fodder supplied to Chandigarh from Mohali and increased the rates from Rs 550 per quintal to Rs 875 per quintal.

Hundreds of milkmen residing in Gawala Colony at Maloya village situated on the outskirts of Chandigarh approached the Maloya police station on Wednesday. Ironically, their grievances were turned down. The milkmen claimed that they are already running short of the silage, hay, and on top of that, have not got the supply of fodder from the last four days.

Somnath, former president of Chandigarh Gawala Association, said, “Before the imposition of the curfew, we used to let loose our cattle in the nearby villages including Maloya and the surrounding village of Mohali. The cattle were allowed to consume large amounts of grass. Since the last three days, fodder has not been supplied in Chandigarh. The local middlemen have stocked it and are demanding Rs 875 per quintal. The cost was Rs 550 four days back. Due to the curfew, we cannot let loose our cattle in the open areas of nearby villages. On Wednesday, I went to PS Maloya, along with three other community members, to lodge a complaint against the increased price of fodder, but the police officers threatened to implicate us in a criminal case. They tore our complaint into pieces.”

The Gawala colony in Maloya village houses around 89 families of the community, most of who earn their livelihood by selling milk in Chandigarh and nearby villages. Everyone has at least more than four cattle. To cater to their demands, two fodder supply centres are situated at Maloya, which are operated by middlemen who get their supply from Mohali. “There is a government cow shelter at Maloya. But the supply of fodder is continuous there. This cow shelter is being managed by the Chandigarh administration. We urge the local administration to sort out this issue. For the last four days, we have not managed to give our cattle the required feed,” said Sunil Kumar, a resident of the colony.

The Central government has included fodder/cattle feed in the list of commodities, whose supply will not be hampered during the 21-day long lockdown. DSP Palak Goel, SHO PS Maloya, said, “I will look into the matter.”
Apart from Gawala Colony in Maloya, milkmen in Dhanas village have been dealing with the problem of fodder shortage.