In the run-up to the Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh last November, the Congress had promised building gaushalas in the state if it forms the government. The Congress' promise had also figured in election manifesto which was aimed to counter BJP's 'love for cows'.
The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh has announced that it will sign an agreement with a private company that will build 300 ‘smart gaushalas’ in the state under its ‘Project Gaushala’ over the next five years. According to a report in The Indian Express, the decks are all clear for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the state government and a private venture to raise infrastructure for stray cattle in the state.
State’s Animal Husbandry Minister Lakhan Singh Yadav informed that the company will not charge a penny from the government for the purpose. However, it will make profits by exporting items made up of cow’s urine, dung and stiff hairs on tails.
According to Yadav, the company has sought 50 acres of land from the government for each proposed gaushala. It will spend Rs 11 crore on each of the hi-tech gaushala.
“I asked them why would a gaushala cost Rs 11 crore, they said it will be hi-tech,” Yadav said.
“When I asked them how do you plan to recover your investment, they said they will export many things made of cow urine, dung and the stiff hairs on cow’s tail,” he added.
The minister said that the day company stops running these gaushalas, it will automatically return to the government. When Yadav was asked about the name of the company, the minister said that he can’t recall it.
To a question about the company if it has any previous experience of running ‘smart gaushalas’, Yadav said that he had asked them the same question and they replied that something like this had never been done before.
In the first phase, the state government will provide land to the company to develop five such ‘smart gaushalas’ in Bhopal. He said that land for remaining ‘smart gaushalas’ will be allotted later. When asked whether he thinks the project will be successful, he said that the company will have to prove itself.
According to his claim, once these ‘smart gaushalas’ start functioning, not a single stray cattle will be out on the streets and markets. He said that this will stop accidents on highways and it will be a big achievement. Also, the company will pay money to people who bring stray cattle to these gaushalas. Besides, the company has plans in place to grow fodder and generate electricity.
Meanwhile, the BJP has accused the Congress government of not being sincere to the cause of cows and playing with emotions. “Smart gaushalas are an eyewash. They are preparing the ground for another fodder scam and land scam,” party leader Hitesh Bajpai said.
In the run-up to the Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh last November, the Congress had promised building gaushalas in the state if it forms the government. The Congress’ promise had also figured in election manifesto which was aimed to counter BJP’s ‘love for cows’.
After forming the government in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Kamal Nath increased the subsidy of cattle feed to Rs 20 per day from Rs 10 per day during the erstwhile BJP regime. Also, the government cleared tenders for the construction of 955 gaushalas in the state.