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Govt looks for 6000 acre land for cow shelters, Opposition says it’s political gimmick

Madhya Pradesh government will need about 6,000 acres of land to accommodate one lakh cows and its progeny as proposed by chief minister Kamal Nath. There are about seven lakh stray cows in the state and the state government plans to develop 1,000 cow shelters to provide home to one lakh of them initially.

bhopal Updated: Feb 24, 2019 21:28 IST
Ranjan
Ranjan
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Cow shelter,Gaushala,cow
Stray cattle in a road side gaushala on Hoshangabad road in Bhopal(HT Photo)

The Madhya Pradesh government will need about 6,000 acres of land to accommodate one lakh cows and its progeny as proposed by chief minister Kamal Nath, said the state government officials.

There are about seven lakh stray cows in the state and the state government plans to develop 1,000 cow shelters (gaushalas) to provide home to one lakh of them initially.

The Congress in its manifesto in the run-up to the state assembly elections in November last year had promised a cow shelter at every gram panchayat in the state. There are more than 23000 panchayats in the state.

According to a proposal of Panchayat and rural development department, Madhya Pradesh, each cow shelter will be built on one acre of land to house 100 cows and will have five acres of land for grazing purposes.

“If we have to provide shelter to all the seven lakh stray cows and its progeny in the state, we will need 42,000 acres of land as per the norms to set up 7000 cow shelters,” said a government official familiar with the discussion on the subject.

The official said the department has started looking for land to set up 1,000 cow shelters in the first phase as decided by the state government.

However, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed that there was not enough land to set up these cow shelters as the then Digvijaya Singh government in 2003 introduced a policy to reduce grazing land to 2% from 5% to allocate the land to landless people resulting in cattle in villages being deprived of grazing land.

Leader Opposition in state assembly and BJP leader, Gopal Bharagava, said, “There is hardly any land available at panchayats since Digvijaya Singh government reduced grazing land norms for villages. The government also knows it will. Hence, the government’s only intention is to keep the issue alive till Lok Sabha polls for Congress’ political gains.”

Animal husbandry minister, Lakhan Singh Yadav, said, “Unlike BJP which talks of cows just for political gains the Congress government is committed to opening the goshalas. It has already started the initiative and results will be there for all to see. The then BJP government had fixed a meagre amount of Rs 4.50 per cow for expenses in goshalas. The Congress government has increased the amount to Rs 20 per cow.”

First Published: Feb 24, 2019 21:28 IST