|| Reshma Shivdekar
The issue of care of unproductive animals is serious
Mumbai: The controversial scheme of financial subsidy for private cowsheds during the Fadnavis government has been on paper for the last two years under the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance government. On the other hand, the decision of the Fadnavis government to ban the slaughter of cattle has been upheld even during the time of the alliance government. As a result, the problem of care of unproductive cows, buffaloes, oxen and other cattle raised in the state is becoming serious.
In Maharashtra, slaughter of cattle has been completely banned from March 4, 2015 under the Maharashtra Animal Protection Act. It also banned the slaughter of cattle, oxen and bulls, which were not suitable for agriculture, load-bearing and breeding. The complete ban has led to an increase in the number of non-productive livestock for agriculture and milk over time. The question arose as to who was responsible for their care.
In 2017-18, the government introduced the scheme ‘Govardhan Govansh Seva Kendra’. Despite the change of government in the state in 2019, the ban on slaughter of cattle has been maintained during the tenure of Fadnavis. Cattle, even if they are unproductive, are associated with religious slaughter. It is having a far-reaching impact on the agricultural economy of the state and the demand for easing the ban on traders in the sector is gaining momentum. However, the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance government did not reverse this decision. On the other hand, the issue of maintenance of unproductive cattle is on the verge of becoming serious as the government’s meager subsidy to the dairy farms has been discontinued. Minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Sunil K Dar could not be reached for comment.
There are currently 565 cowsheds in the state. The Fadnavis government decided to subsidize some of these cowsheds after the ban on slaughter of entire cattle was banned. According to this, one crore grant was being given to each Goshala in the district.
It was decided to implement this scheme in a revised form from March, 2019. Accordingly, the scheme was to be implemented in 139 revenue areas. Goshalas (Govardhan Govansh Seva Kendras) in each of these areas were to be given a grant of Rs. 25 lakhs each. Earlier, a grant of Rs 34.75 crore was sanctioned for the same.
The revised plan did not materialize. It has been on paper for the last two years as the alliance government has avoided taking a decision on it. The scheme was controversial at the time due to allegations of distribution of grants to union-affiliated organizations
What’s in the plan?
Caring for unproductive cattle. To provide their fodder, water, shelter. Implement fodder production program. Promotion of various products from cow urine, dung etc., fertilizers, manure gas and other by-products. Artificial insemination of native bulls for breeding of native cows etc.