At a time when the holy cow has become a political hot potato in India, a Jharkhand-based industrialist-cum-social worker, RK Agarwal, has come up with India’s first of its kind ambulance service for bovines giving right wing Hindu groups another reason to cheer.
Come Friday, in all ten Tata 407 mini-trucks, remodeled and specially designed in the shape of ambulances, would hit the Jharkhand roads lifting cows lying injured in the streets, sick, or rescued from slaughter houses and transporting them to the nearest goushalas (cow shelters).
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, currently in Ranchi for a Yoga session for Ranchiites, would officially hand over the keys of the 10 ambulances to heads of 10 goushalas from across the state.
The ambulances redesigned at Jamshedpur’s Pebco Motors, a motor vehicles body building facility, will come with safety equipment that will lift the cows, no matter how heavy they are, with ease and ensure that the animals do not get hurt in the process. It will have a driver and technician, who will be trained in giving first aid to ailing cows.
“It was my dream to do something for ailing, injured cows which are often abandoned as lifting and transporting them to a veterinary hospital is a cumbersome process,” said Agarwal. He added, “Serving cows is like serving your own mother and hence no matter how much you spend, you want to see you mother healthy and happy.”
Agarwal declined to reveal the total amount he has spent in building the ambulances. He said it will give him inner satisfaction if the vehicles are of use to the cows.
Agarwal is also president of Jharkhand Pradeshik Goushala Sangh (JPGS) that has been fighting for stricter implementation of cow slaughter ban in the state. “There is a law but it is not being implemented strictly. Jharkhand remains a hub for trafficking of cows to neighbouring country, Bangladesh.
Hundreds of illegal slaughter houses are running under the nose of law enforcement agencies but to no avail,” he said.
Known by Hindus as “Kamdhenu” that fulfils human needs, the cow has a central place in religious rituals and also has free rein to roam in the streets. It is this free roaming that makes them vulnerable to accidents.
According to the plan, the 10 ambulances will go to goushalas at Jamshedpur, Chakulia, Chaibasa, Ranchi, Dhanbad, Deoghar, Koderma, Hazaribagh, Katras and Madhupur. Initially for a year, JPGS will pay for fuel, maintenance, and salary of driver and technician.
“Drivers have been trained to reach the spot within two hours of the call to pick the cows,” he said.
In Jharkhand the doctor-patient ratio is low, there is only one hospital for one lakh population and the 108 emergency ambulance service is yet to see the light of day.