After taming snakes for years, N.K. Singh has turned his gaze to breeding some. Singh, a city-based snake catcher, has applied for a licence to the chief wildlife warden to set up a cobra breeding farm here. The divisional forest officer of Seraikela has already forwarded his application to the warden.
An 11-acre plot near the MGM Medical College has been earmarked where the proposed snake breeding centre will come up. The land belongs to an acquaintance of Singh who is also helping him finance the project.
The plot near Mango is enough for setting up the breeding farm, Singh said. "It's an important project, which will yield good results. The breeding centre will help in extraction of cobra poison from which many vaccines and medicines are made. I have already prepared the blueprint of the project with help from other experts," he said. "I am waiting for the licence after which I will establish the breeding centre," said Singh.
Divisional forest officer A.T. Mishra stated Singh's application for licence was being processed and his chance of getting the go-ahead was positive keeping in mind his expertise with snakes and his knowledge about reptiles.
Singh said he would breed those cobras that he catches from various parts of the city. "There are a lot of cobras here which will help us in breeding them," he added.
The bespectacled Singh already owns a cobra rearing farm at Kuchai in adjoining West Singhbhum. He supplies snake poison to various hospitals, including the Christian Medical College in Vellore. He has also tied up with different agencies dealing with snake poison.
Speaking about the benefit of breeding the slimy creatures, Singh said: "The poison extracted from the cobras will help in preparing anti-venom vaccines and other kinds of medicines. The city hospitals will benefit a lot if we have a breeding farm here as most of the time they do not have stock of anti-venom injections. The hospitals can have a regular supply of these vaccines and medicines if a breeding centre is in the vicinity," Singh said.
A former employee of Tata Steel electrical department, Singh moves around the city on his scooter catching snakes. Different species of snakes are always found inside the boot of his two-wheeler.
"I collect them from nooks and corners of the city and release them in the jungles. But generally I take the cobras to my farm in Kuchai for poison extraction," he added.
Telegraph 2009 May 12