Madhya Pradesh’s cow sanctuary project, hyped as India’s first, has inspired many states but has officially remained a non-starter on the home turf owing to delays due to multiple management issues, official sources said.
Result: The Rs 31.9 crore project, announced by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in 2008, hasn’t been inaugurated yet. Chouhan had performed its bhoomi pujan in December 2012 and announced that the sanctuary would be developed as a pilgrimage site and made part of a local pilgrim circuit.
The hype inspired a dozen of states, Including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Punjab, which sought the project details and began work on it.
However, in MP, the project is still struggling at the initial stages even after crossing the five-year deadline. Some animal husbandry officials now worry that some other state might set up a cow sanctuary before MP if the delay continued.
The sanctuary project is being implemented by the Madhya Pradesh Gaupalan Evam Pashudhan Samwardan Board (MP Cow Protection Board) on 472 hectares of land in a Agar-Malwa district village, bordering Rajasthan.
The project was to be completed in five years with an addition of 1000 cows every year. However, it hasn’t made much headway thereafter.
Govt may inaugurate project before Simhastha: Official
However, a senior official expressed hopes that the state government might formally inaugurate the project before the Simhasta 2016.
He said, “The work for housing 1,000 cows is almost complete. We will take 500 cows from the local gaushalla, whose owner is ready to handover them to the cow sanctuary and for rest of the 500, the Agar municipal body will help us in getting stray and aged cows from nearby areas.”
Animal husbandry director RK Rokde, who also managing director of Gaupalan Evam Pashudhan Samwardan Board, said that initially there had been a lot of confusion who should run the project—a trust, some agency or the government.
After it was sorted out that the government would look after it and then came the funding issues, he said. Initially, the board provided Rs 1.64 crore from its budget to the public works department (PWD) to set up the basic infrastructure.
Later, the chief minister added a cow research centre to the projected with government funds.
He said now the board had decided to provide `19 crore in installments to the agency that works under PWD for developing infrastructure for 5000 cows. “All these issues took some time but now we are ready to house 1000 cows to begin with”, he said.
The forest department and the Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute of Jhansi are helping the state government in growing different kinds of grasses over 200 hectares of land in the sanctuary.