Posted On 21 August 2012 at 13:41
Ex-engineer has 35,000 cobras at his 3-acre farm
Sonali Das, TNN Jun 17, 2008, 05.26am IST
(N K Singh with his pet. (TOI…)JAMSHEDPUR: This snake farm at Kuchai in Saraikela-Kharsawan district, though not as huge and sprawling like the Guindy Snake Park in Chennai, houses a variety of cobras.
Seventy-eight-year-old N K Singh, who has nurtured this eco-friendly farm, is a electrical engineer who retired from Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO), but — with a spring in his steps — looks half his age. Singh is from Bhagalpur in Bihar.
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www.StartHealthyStayHealthy.inClad in a colourful T-shirt, Singh wears at least 12 mobile phones around his neck. While any ordinary man would have papers, vegetables or fowls in his two-wheeler box, this snake lover keeps cobras.
"I am delighted whenever I spot a snake and catching them gives me extreme pleasure and satisfaction," he said.
The 12 cellphone connections that he has are used to answer panic calls of residents who spot snakes in their localities.
Working with two sticks, Singh works and waits hours until the time the snake emerges from its hiding. After trapping the cobra, he takes it to his snake farm which already has 35,000 of these deadly reptiles.
Singh, however, is not into charity. He sells the snake venom to Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, for which he is paid Rs 11 lakh per ounce.
Every 800 cobras produce 30 ml of venom and Singh's cobras yield 30-32 ounces of venom every year. He holds a valid licence for hunting wild snakes from the forest department and claims that he never hunts snakes in private localities unless it enters a house.
His claim that more than 145 cobras have been found in the Telco residential colony after the recent chlorine gas leak has irked company officials who claim that it is a ploy to trap snakes for his farm.
Maintaining 35,000 cobras is no joke. For their upkeep, he has employed 45 boys, mostly from Orissa, who are also experts in handling snakes.
If Singh is to be believed, he spends Rs 2.5 lakh every month on food for these snakes.
"The snakes eat only once a month but they eat only prawns," he said. He even has golden cobras from Singapore, Brazil and South Africa that he brought back from his trips abroad. Incidentally, Singh doesn't have the support of his family for the upkeep of these cobras.