The celebrated Indian ingenuity is one thing, and Baba Ramdev’s idea of saving bulls from the abattoirs by making them valuable components of power generation—by turning a turbine—is quite another. To be sure, the idea has generated enough buzz to interest an Indian automobile giant and a Turkish farm to partner the yoga-guru/entrepreneur in designing the prototype which, as per reports, generates a precious 2.5 kW of electricity. Ramdev’s aide-de-camp and Patanjali MD, Balkrishna, who is credited with the idea, believes the bovine rejects can be harnessed during the day for farm-work and for power generation at night. Now that they would be productive nearly all the time, the farmer may be less inclined to sell them to the nearest slaughterhouse or abandon them.
You would wonder how you would choose between a lifetime of drudgery and a quick culling, but these are bulls we are talking of. The problem is different. With farm mechanisation likely to yield much more than a productive bull—even if it is so on the field and in the ‘power plant’—there seems very little incentive for the farmer to keep caring for it till it dies a natural death. Already, the population of male animals has fallen to 30% of the overall cattle population.
And the generation from the project at this stage, to put it mildly, looks far from promising. A better way to circumvent a scenario where male animals are sent to abattoirs is to work on sex selection through artificial insemination. This will ensure more cows are born, and less bulls need to be slaughtered. This is something Patanjali was reportedly keen on, partnering a Dutch company to ensure 92% of the progeny were females. For Ramdev and co, may be, that could be the idea to focus on.