Staff Reporter

Only 36 animals have been purchased so far

Cost of each animal ranges from Rs. 29,500 to Rs. 32,700 depending on yieldPassion for crossbred Murrah variety, cost factor and lack of awareness cited as reasonsSelection of beneficiaries undertaken without involvement of Animal Husbandry Department officials

ELURU: The arrival of "high-yielding" buffaloes from Haryana to West Godavari district for distribution under the "Swayam Sopanam Scheme" hardly cheers the local farmers. The stock kept at the agricultural market yard for distribution seems to be eagerly waiting for takers.

The district administration conceived the scheme named "Paschima Godavari Pala Velluva Pathakam" with an objective of helping the district register a higher rate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Rs 16.2 crore per year, by increasing the per capita milk production.

Convergence programme

As part of the endeavour, a convergence programme was designed involving all the departments concerned and a tie-up with bankers was arranged for financial assistance to the beneficiaries to purchase the animals on a subsidy basis.

It is proposed to bring in 6,000 buffaloes of higher genetic potential from Haryana in a phased manner for the purpose. The cost of each animal ranges from Rs. 29,500 to Rs. 32,700 depending on its milking efficiency. In the first phase, 1,249 beneficiaries were selected. Even as the process of distributing the Haryana buffaloes which commenced on December 10 was to end by the end of January, only 36 animals were purchased so far as against the targeted 600 buffaloes, according to S.T.G. Satyagovind, convener, Pala Velluva Pathakam.

The passion for the local and crossbred Murrah variety, cost factor and the lack of awareness among the beneficiaries about the scheme are said to be the main reasons for the poor public response.

An official who did not like to be quoted said the problem lay in the very selection of beneficiaries which was undertaken without the involvement of officials from the Department of Animal Husbandry. "As a result, the persons without agrarian background and those representing upland areas reeling under acute fodder and water scarcity were chosen for distribution of the animals," he added.