MP Govt to Set Up 1,000 ‘Gaushalas’ in Next 4 Months: Officials
The Madhya Pradesh government will set up 1,000 'gaushalas' or cow shelters in the state in the next four months, to accommodate around one lakh stray cows and their progeny, an official said on Wednesday, 30 January.
Setting up 'gaushalas' in every village panchayat was a key promise made by the Congress in its manifesto for the 2018 assembly elections.
With this announcement, the government expects to not only tackle stray cattle menace but also create 40 lakh man-days employment. A man-day is one person's working time for a day, or the equivalent used as a measure of how much work or labour is required or consumed to perform some task.
He said the chief minister wanted the project to take-off at the earliest.
"Kamal Nath said 'Project Gaushala' would provide relief from stray cattle menace in urban and rural areas. In addition, homeless animals will find shelter. This will also create employment opportunities in rural areas," the official quoted the chief minister as saying.
Department of Rural Development will be the nodal agency for the Gaushala Project.
The project will be implemented by gram panchayats, self-help groups (SHGs), the institutions impaneled with the State Board for Conservation of Bovine Animals, and the committed organisations selected by district-level committees, the official said.
He said the chief minister also appealed to private organisations to participate in the project. The CM also instructed officers concerned to explore the possibility of operating new ‘gaushalas’ on 'own-operate-manage' basis.
There is not a single government-managed ‘gaushala’ in the state, it was said in the meeting.
In its poll manifesto, the Congress had also promised to make necessary arrangements for the upkeep of injured cows. After assuming power in December last year, the Kamal Nath government had announced crop loan waiver, another key poll promise.
The announcement to open cow shelters is seen as a move to counter the cow politics which is often ascribed to the BJP and other saffron bodies. Under the BJP rule, Madhya Pradesh had become the second state after Rajasthan to set up a Cow Welfare Ministry.
The previous Shivraj Singh Chouhan government had in 2017 established the country's first cow sanctuary on 472 hectares in Agar-Malwa district, with a view to accommodate 6,000 stray and abandoned cows in its 24 sheds and to promote pesticides and medicines derived from cow dung and its urine.
However, within five months of its inauguration, the Kamdhenu Gau Abhayaranya had reportedly stopped accepting more cattle due to "shortage" of fodder and water.