BHOPAL: Chief minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday laid the foundation of 36 gaushalas (cowsheds) in the saffron bastion Vidisha, thus fulfilling another promise made in the party’s poll manifesto. Nath also announced to reserve 125-hectare grazing land for cattle.
“We had promised in the ‘Vachan Patra’ to financially help farmers and open 1000 gaushalas across the state. We are fulfilling our promise within the time limit. The government would dump the poor peasants in heavy debt throughout their life”, said chief minister Nath after laying the foundation of 36 gaushalas in Vidisha.
Nath, who took over as the chief minister on December 17 last year, had promised to open 1000 gaushalas for abandoned cattle in the next four months. Nath chose Vidisha, the Lok Sabha constituency of foreign minister Sushma Swaraj. The Congress ministers have been asked to take up the gaushala project on priority in the districts.
During recent meetings, the chief minister had mentioned about 614 gaushalas being privately managed or operated across the state and assured that the government would add more to it in each district. The 36 gaushalas would be constructed on 160-hectare land to accommodate 100 cows each. The total cost of a cowshed will be Rs 30 lakh which separate 124-hectare land for grazing cattle, he said.
As per reports, department of rural development will be the nodal authority for project gaushala, and it will run with the cooperation of the gram panchayat, self-help groups, institutions impaneled with the state board for the conservation of bovine animals and institutions selected by district-level committees.
Nath had stressed that besides sheltering animals, the project will also provide relief to people in urban and rural areas from stray cattle and ensure employment for the local population. He also wanted to explore the possibility of operating cow shelters on an ‘own-operate-manage’ basis.
During the function, Nath distributed loan waiver certificates to 2.37 lakh farmers of Vidisha district. He said Rs 122.52 crore has been transferred in the farmers’ bank accounts in the first phase, while another Rs 162.14 crore will be deposited soon.
The chief minister also exhorted youths to take up farm-based enterprises and assured that state government would encourage farmers and industries to set up business to boost the state’s economy.