Eight cows have been handed over to as many farmers in the hilly district of Wayanad in north Kerala under the 'donate a cow' campaign in the wake of torrential rains and consequent devastation in the state in the monsoon season.
Another 10 cows will be handed over soon with authorities aiming to donate around 50 cows during the first phase of the programme.
District authorities had launched an online campaign, after which people expressed their willingness to donate money to buy cows for those who had lost their cattle during the Kerala floods.
The 'donate a cow' campaign was launched under the leadership of Sub-Collector MSK Umesh and Agriculture Officer VS Harsha.
‚ÄúLoss of animals had wrecked the livelihood of many dairy farmers in the district, which made us start the ‚Äėdonate a cow‚Äô programme. The staff of the dairy development department in Kalpetta pooled money to donate the first cow. We took the campaign to the social media later, and the response is good,‚ÄĚ Harsha told the Times of India.
According to official estimates, 223 cows had died in Wayanad during the heavy rains recorded between May and mid-August in the district.
Wayanad is the second-largest milk producing district in the state with a daily production of 2.13 lakh litres.
Mary Kurian, who received a cow bought with the money pooled in by a group of students of the state-run Veterinary College on Wednesday, said: "It is something out of the blue. I never ever thought that I will get this gift. I am really indebted to those who helped me."
She had lost five of her cows in the floods.
Umesh told the media that their campaign had received good public response and helped collect Rs four lakh.
"We appeal to the people to join our efforts... we assure that their money will reach the most appropriate and needy person," said Umesh.
He said those willing to help can contact them or mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With IANS inputs