A cow near an open-air class inside the Visva-Bharati compound on Thursday. Picture by Snehamoy Chakraborty
Santiniketan, Aug. 30: Tagore’s tame cow and its brethren have unhinged themselves from their Kumorpara carts and have found a place to graze — Visva-Bharati.
The university is under a bovine siege — for the past few years, around 200 cows have been grazing at will on the campus, chasing students attending open-air classes and loitering on the sprawling fields, inconveniencing teachers, pupils and varsity employees.
Fed up with owners allowing their cows to graze on the varsity campus, officials last evening went around the neighbourhood in a Bolero announcing that the menace be stopped.
“Etodara sakal nagarik-ke janano jaiteche je, Visva-Bharati campus-e prachur goru ghure berachhe. Folay kaj karme anek asubidha hochhe. Gorur malikder uddeshhe janano jaitechhe je tara jeno goru Visva-Bharatir bhitor dhuktey na dan (attention please, a large number of cows graze on the Visva-Bharati campus. As a result, work is getting disrupted. So, the owners of the animals are requested not to allow their cows to enter the campus),” an official announced over the mike.
According to varsity officials, the owners leave their cattle to graze in the compound during the day and take them away at night. Sometimes, the owners don’t come to collect the cows at night.
“The animals loiter around the compound at night, mooing and disturbing our sleep,” an employee said.
Last evening’s announcement is yet to yield results as many cows were seen on the varsity compound today.
Around 200 cows and their calves graze inside the campuses of Patha Bhavan, Sangeet Bhavan and Kala Bhavan, the officials added.
A Class IX student of Patha Bhavan said: “Sometimes, the cows chase us. We feel scared. We study in open-air classes. Often, we have to shift to other places as the spot allotted for classes is littered with dung.”
Teachers also made similar complaints. “The cows often disrupt classes. We have asked the varsity authorities several times to take action,” a Patha Bhavan teacher said.
A security officer of the varsity said the cows were also causing nuisance near Sangeet Bhavan, Kala Bhavan and the girls’ hostels.
“The cows enter the compound of the central office every day. We have got tired of driving away the animals. We put up wire fences but the cows break them and enter,” the officer said.
“The cattle break the fences with their horns and destroy the rows of flower plants. Besides chasing away animals, we also have to clear the dung,” he added.
A Visva-Bharati professor said that often the cows block roads, leading to accidents. “There have been instances of students and teachers falling off cycles or motorbikes because of the cows suddenly running into roads,” the professor said.
Recently, the chief security officer of Visva-Bharati, Supriyo Ganguly, spoke to registrar Mani Mukut Mitra about the menace. The decision to tell cow owners not to let the animals enter the compound was taken at the meeting.
“We have received several complaints from students, teachers and employees. So we have started the campaign to alert the cow owners,” Ganguly said.