Himachal CM adds cowshed, elevator to Oakover, his British-era official residence in Shimla
Jai Ram Thakur rears a Himachali Pahari cow, an indigenous cattle breed native to seven districts of the hill stateUpdated: Oct 21, 2020, 12:52 IST
Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur has brought home a Himachali Pahari cow and got a shed built for it at Oakover, his official residence in Shimla.
“It’s auspicious to rear cows at home. They bring peace, harmony and prosperity. Besides, the cow is a sacred symbol of life,” a staff member employed at Thakur’s residence said, requesting anonymity.
The public works department, which is incidentally under the chief minister, built the cow shed near Oakover’s Gate No. 2 recently. “The cowshed is covered from all sides,” the staffer said.
HARDY CATTLE BREED
The Himachali Pahari is an indigenous cattle breed native to seven districts of Chamba, Mandi, Kullu, Kangra, Sirmour, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti. The hill state has an estimated eight lakh such cows that are adapted to the mountain topography and cold climate besides fodder scarcity owing to higher number of white blood cells and haemoglobin levels. The daily milk yield of the cow ranges from 1 to 3 litres.
The Karnal-based National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) has officially recognised the Himachali Pahari as an indigenous breed with unique features after researchers from the Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University (HPAU) gave the NBAGR scientific evidence.
The NBAGR is the nodal agency of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for registration of newly identified germplasms of livestock and poultry in India.
After taking over reins of the state in 2017, Jai Ram Thakur had imposed cow cess on the sale of liquor bottles that was raised from Re 1 to Rs 1.50 per bottle for this fiscal.
ELEVATOR COMES UP
The PWD has also added an elevator to the double-storeyed Oakover, making yet another alteration to the historic building that was once the retreat of the Maharajas of Patiala. Despite the fund crunch, PWD sources said the elevator was installed at a cost of Rs 35 lakh.
Though the authorities denied any bylaw violation, the utility of an elevator for one floor has raised eyebrows.
The British-era building was considered jinxed for years and it came to be believed that the chief minister who stayed at Oakover did not complete his term. Dr Yashwant Singh Parmar, the first CM of the state, Shanta Kumar and Ram Lal Thakur exited their office before their terms expired. The jinx was finally broken by the BJP’s Prem Kumar Dhumal, who completed his term as chief minister in 1998.
Jai Ram Thakur’s predecessor Virbhadra Singh, the longest serving chief minister of the state, also avoided Oakover and stayed at his private residence, Holy Lodge, while in chair.