Other States

Madhya Pradesh to start ‘housing project’ for stray cows

Bovine problem: Farmers say stray cattle are destroying crops.  

Stray cows will soon have 1,000 shelters to call their homes in Madhya Pradesh.

As part of ‘Project Gaushala’, the State government plans to move 7 lakh stray cows and bulls to shelters close to villages.

“First, let’s not call them awara (wandering),” said R.K. Rokde, Director, State Animal Husbandry Department, “Instead, nirashrit (stray) sounds much more dignified.”

Land donated

Each gaushala (cow shelter) is being developed at a cost of ₹30 lakh on an acre or more of land donated by temples, individuals and informal groups. Each of the 100 cows in a shelter would have at least 27 sq. ft. under the shed to itself, and at least an extra 50 sq. ft. to roam. Newborn calves would be tended to in special, intensive-care sheds; cow urine and dung would be stocked in tanks for use later as ingredients in different products; vermicompost pits and bio-gas units would be set up in the compound.

Each cow will be provided not less than ₹20 worth sawdust and fodder from deep mangers every day. For this, the State government in this year’s budget has set aside ₹132 crore.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme workers have been roped in to build the gaushalas at a cost of ₹300 crore, being drawn from the scheme. Under the watch of gram panchayats, self-help groups and NGOs working for the welfare of cows will manage the shelters, once their bid to operate them is approved by Zila Gaupalan Samitis headed by District Collectors. Mr. Rokdesaid, “We will transfer funds for the feed to managers in four instalments in a year.”

Not all stray

Not all the cattle on the streets, however, are stray, he said. “As many as 13 lakh cattle have breeders and are left to roam streets and graze fields during the day. They won’t be moved to the shelters.”

Over the years, admitted Mr. Rokde, with stricter implementation of the Madhya Pradesh Gauvansh Vadh Pratishedh Adhiniyam, the State’s cow slaughter prevention law, especially close to the State’s porous borders to catch those transporting cattle illegally, the numbers of stray cattle has shot up.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 7:40:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/housing-project-for-stray-cows/article28526271.ece

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