During a time when gujarat is afflicted by a severe drought, to save the cattle from dying, Pramukh Swami Maharaj has opened 5 cattle camps. To help the helpless cattle in the drought prevailing in Gujarat, the Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) has commenced cattle camps at its centres in Gondal, Dahod, Sarangpur, Raisan and Bodeli. Through the inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the cattle camps sustain and nourish 10,000 cattle.
BAPS Cattle Camp, Gondal:
On 21 January 2001, the first BAPS cattle camp was inaugurated in Gondal. During the function, the Finance Minister of Gujarat, Shri Vajubhai Vala, opined, "Whenever our country or state is affected by natural calamities, Pramukh Swami Maharaj has always organised relief work according to the needs of society and engaged with full faith the sadhus and volunteers of the Sanstha. The Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha is the biggest university for social service in society." The District Collector, Shri A. K. Rakesh, appreciated the Sanstha's care for the mute animals, thus supporting the government efforts in looking after the drought afflicted cattle. The BAPS cattle camp in Gondal cares for drought affected cattle from the districts of Rajkot, Kutch and Jamnagar. In addition, the Sanstha has also introduced fodder distribution centres for animals in the interior villages and buttermilk distribution centres for people affected by the drought.
BAPS Cattle Camp, Dahod:
On 7 February 2001, the second BAPS cattle camp was auspiciously inaugurated in the presence of MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) Shri Babubhai Katara, Collector Shri Kalasva, Chairman of State Transport Board, Shri Mansinhbhai Bhabhor and others. After Pujya Mahant Swami inaugurated the camp he expressed, "In the heart of Pramukh Swami Maharaj there is compassion for all. And that is why at this age (80 years), he is tirelessly endeavouring in philanthropic activities for the good of all. He always thinks about the progress and betterment of backward and neglected districts. It is with these sentiments that he has initiated such cattle camps." The cattle camp looks after afflicted cattle from the districts of Panchmahal, Dahod and Vadodara.
BAPS Cattle Camp: Sarangpur
On 21 February 2001, the third BAPS cattle camp was inaugurated by Pujya Mahant Swami. During the function, the MLA for Dhanduka, Shri Bharatbhai Pandya, MLA for Botad, Shri Saurabhbhai Patel and Shri Maniya and other dignitaries were present. MLA Shri Bharatbhai addressed the gathering, "The earthquake was an unexpected happening. The government and NGOs have performed a wonderful task in the midst of several limitations. But amongst all NGOs, this organisation is the best. On seeing this cattle camp I can confidently say that this is an ideal camp. The BAPS has shown what an ideal cattle camp should be like." MLA Shri Saurabhbhai expressed his congratulations at the organisation's discipline, scientific approach, sacrifice and organisational capacity. Finally, Pujya Mahant Swami said, "The uniqueness of this cattle camp is the result of Pramukh Swami Maharaj's direct guidance and inspiration. In times of calamity or harsh times to both men and animals, Pramukh Swami Maharaj has offered his support out of compassion and love. And that is why they do not merely remain as care centres alone but as redemptory centres also. The drought, however, is not a situation that is welcomed so let us pray that there be no droughts during the coming years. And may the waters of the river Narmada start flowing in all parts of Gujarat." This camp looks after cattle from the districts of Bhavnagar, Amreli and Amdavad.
BAPS Cattle Camp, Amdavad:
On 8 March 2001, the fourth BAPS cattle camp was inaugurated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj and the Chief Minister Shri Keshubhai Patel in Raisan near Gandhinagar. The Chief Minister said, "Every work of Pramukh Swami Maharaj is extraordinary. And I welcome and congratulate the opening of this wonderful cattle camp here today. It is not a cattle camp but a cattle school. I would also like to congratulate Pramukh Swami for the BAPS's relief services in the earthquake disaster in Bhuj and Saurashtra." Blessing the gathering, Pramukh Swami Maharaj said, "Today, Gujarat is reeling under two disasters. In the recent earthquake catastrophe we all offered our concerted efforts in the relief activities. The citizens of Gujarat, religious organisations, the government and people abroad offered their help, but still before the monsoon arrives we must build permanent homes for the quake-affected people. And before that, to provide refuge on a temporary basis, we will all have to help in making arrangements for tin shelters. Along with the earthquake relief work we should not forget the prevailing drought; therefore we should all unite and endeavour to alleviate the suffering of people and animals."
BAPS Cattle Camp, Bodeli:
On 26 March 2001, the fifth BAPS cattle camp was inaugurated by Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami in the presence of Minister Shri Bhupendra Lakhawalla, President of District Panchayat Shri Ranjitsinh Rathwa and MP Ramsinh Rathwa. The camp looks after 790 cattle from the districts of Dahod and Vadodara. On a daily basis, each cattle is provided with 14kg of fodder that includes 10kg green grass, 3kg dry grass and 1kg of protein enriched fodder. The camp is run by 30 dedicated BAPS volunteers. The cattle are also tended by 90 owners who stay in the cattle camp. A daily visit by the government veterinary doctor ensures the good health of the cattle.
Unique Aspects Of Baps Cattle Camp:
Through the inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the BAPS cattle camps in Gondal, Sarangpur, Dahod, Raisan and Bodeli have the following unique attributes:
1. Spacious ground to accommodate animals.
2. Disinfected tanks to store drinking water.
3. Sheds with nets to let in natural breeze.
4. Troughs made of stone.
5. Platforms made of stone for stacking stocks of grass.
6. Sufficient water supply.
7. Grass and cattle-feed in sufficient quantities.
8. A well-equipped veterinary hospital with expert doctors.
9. Enough space for cattle to move around.
10. Trained volunteers to keep the cattle and surroundings clean.
11. Trained staff to carefully unload cattle and to note their branding so that they can be returned to their rightful owners once the rains set in.