The decades-old seed production and livestock breeding farm at Kathopal, Betnoti in Mayurbhanj district is running in a dire state due to the lack of interference from the government and district administration.
The farm was established sometime in the 1980s with the objective of breeding livestock and producing seeds of high-quality grass for cattle fodder. The combined aims would help cater to the demand for milk and grass in the local market.
Sprawled over 120 acres of land, the farm once had cowsheds, a water supply project, a gobar gas plant, machinery and equipment and four staff quarters.
The rest was being used for the production of hybrid grass, to be used as cattle fodder and to cater to the local demand.
The entire management of the farm is being controlled by Chief District Veterinary Officer (CDVO), Sub-Assistant Fodder Development Officer (SAFDO) along with a junior engineer, a watchman and three casual staff.
Stray animals and local cattle herders enter the farm unauthorisedly due to the lack of boundary wall and fences.
Power cables are regularly stolen from the farm, resulting in month-long disturbances of power supply.
A grass cutter machine, tractor and power tiller and three water supply points are defunct due to lack of their maintenance. This creates huge problems in the irrigation of the farm.
Basanta Kumar Mohapatra, the SAFDO, said that the farm was harbouring Sindhi, Holstein and hybrid cows and breeding calves besides catering to the milk crisis in Baripada market and outside the district.
CO3, Samparna, Guinea and Cowpea are some of the high-quality grasses being cultivated in the farm to produce seeds and fodder for the cows as also to fulfill the local demand.
Livestock breeding in the farm began in 1983 and was stopped in the year 2000.
After that, bulls were being cared for in the farm and this project ended in 2015-16. Now, the livestock breeding project has been completely stopped.
Many lands have become forests of weeds and wild plants due to non-maintenance, while the local people have started encroaching on the land due to the absence of boundary walls and fences.
The government provides assistance for the cultivation of grass in the Rabi and Kharif crop seasons, but the maintenance of cowsheds, staff quarters, machinery and water supply points has been completely neglected. Miscreants and anti-social elements gather in the disused cow sheds after dark.
When contacted, Chief District Veterinary Officer Pravakar Sahoo said that no funds have been sanctioned by the government to erect the boundaries and fences for the protection of the farm.
Villagers of Kathopal said that they hope that Pratap Sarangi, the Minister of State for the Government of India in Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, along with the state government and the district administration will work for the revival of the farm.