Two days after a young dairy farmer suffered a devastating loss, with as many as 13 of his 20 cows dying from suspected food poisoning, offers of new cows and financial assistance poured in from various quarters at their farm in Idukki, the mountainous district of Kerala on Tuesday. State ministers J Chinchu Rani and Roshy Augustine visited 15-year-old Mathew, the distressed young farmer, at his house in Velliyamattom village this morning and offered support and assistance from the state government. Besides Kerala ministers, actor Jayaram also lent a helping hand to the teenaged Kerala farmer. Also read: How Mani Ratnam recreated Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan on screen perfectly in PS1. See comparison with official illustrations
Jayaram donates money assigned for film event
Actor Jayaram, known for his love of animals, visited the boy’s house and handed over a cheque of ₹5 lakh to buy new cows and rebuild his farm. Jayaram said the film crew of the Malayalam movie Abraham Ozler, in which he stars, has opted to cancel the scheduled trailer launch event on January 4, and instead decided to donate the ₹5 lakh allocated for it to Mathew’s family. Additionally, Jayaram conveyed to Mathew that actors Mammootty and Prithviraj will also be contributing financial aid of ₹1 lakh and ₹2 lakh, respectively.
Earlier, Animal Husbandry Minister Chinchu Rani said that steps would be taken to hand over five insured cows to the young farmer soon. Cattle feed for one month would also be made available to him free of cost at the earliest, she said after visiting the young farmer and his family. Furthermore, a financial assistance of ₹45,000 from the Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (Milma) would also be ensured for the distressed farmer, she added.
“All five cows will be of good breed. They will be given after they are insured. If any casualty happens to the cattle, he would get back the entire amount,” she told reporters. The minister, accompanied by Water Resources Minister Augustine, also advised Mathew to grow grass on unused properties in the area to ensure good-quality feed for the cattle.
Actor Jayaram, after handing over the cheque, said he could understand the sorrow of the young farmer and his family over the deaths of their dear cows. “Everything will be alright soon,” the actor said, consoling them. He also told the farmer that he would help him buy high-bred cows from Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu at a good price.
More about Mathew
Thirteen of Mathew’s 20 cows died on Sunday, following which he became distressed and was hospitalised. Preliminary reports suggest that the cattle might have been affected by a poisonous substance called hydrocyanic acid (HCN) present in the tapioca skin used as feed, a non-conventional but cost-effective cattle feed, a government official said.
Three of the cows that survived are under treatment, while another cow with four calves has survived. The losses incurred by Mathew is estimated to be around ₹6 lakh, officials said, adding that unfortunately, the family had not insured the cows. The boy, who took over the farm two years ago at the age of 13 after his father’s untimely demise, relied on tapioca leaves as an economical alternative to conventional cattle feed. Mathew’s brother George and younger sister assist him with managing the farm.
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