Karimnagar: With the threat of penalties being imposed if animals are found feasting on saplings planted under Haritha Haram, some shepherds in Kanagarthi village decided to strap the mouths of their goats with discarded plastic bottles to prevent them from doing so.
It is a normal practice for villagers to strap the mouth of oxen to prevent them from grazing on standing crops. Similarly, mouths of animals are strapped with mesh to prevent them from consuming food if they fall sick. For the first time, this practice is being used on goats after village panchayats made it clear that they would impose fines on shepherds if animals are found eating saplings.
Three shepherds, Illaiah, Sammakka and Praveen, who have 20 goats each, have taken to this method and the contraptions would be in place till the animals cross the village premises.
Speaking to Telangana Today, Illaiah said they heard about fines being imposed. To avoid that, they were closing the mouths of goats with halved plastic bottles and strapped with a plastic rope. After crossing the village, mouths of the goats would be unstrapped. The same would be repeated when they return to the village in the evening, he said.
The protection of saplings has been made mandatory for gram panchayats in the new Panchayat Raj Act. Panchayats are paying special attention to protecting trees as action would also be taken against sarpanches if they failed to do so.
A few days ago, Huzurabad municipal authorities slapped a shepherd, D Rajaiah, with a fine of Rs 1,000 for letting his goats graze on saplings. Similar incidents were reported in other areas too.