Raje attempts to lighten the brunt of Hingonia incident by implementing appropriate measures for safeguarding livestock.
For a state as big as Rajasthan, animal husbandry is an important means of economy. It provides secondary source of income for multiple families and helps farmers mitigate the effects of natural calamities like drought and floods. For a state that leads in production of animal products, sudden death of 500 cows caused by starvation in Hingonia was a major setback for the government. Authorities faced bitter criticism for this catastrophe, but the state government was quick to act this time.
To make up for lives lost due to negligence of staff at cow rehabilitation centre, the state hit back with two powerful weapons– ‘Nandi Shala’ and ‘Cow Welfare funds’ for the welfare of livestock.
Public Contribution to Strengthen Cow Welfare Funds
State Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria announced a welfare fund ‘Mukhyamantri Gau Sanrakshan Kosh‘ to safeguard life and quality of existing 1.28 crore stray cattle dwelling in Rajasthan, at present. The repository will be funded by public and government participation.
- Rajasthan The government will raise funds for this cause by levying 10% surcharge on Mandi tax, 5% surcharge on temple trusts (supervised by Devasthan Department of Government) and 5% of total corporate social responsibility funds.
- Government employees will be requested to donate Rs. 1 to 3 per day to siphon maximum funds for this cause.
- Strict rules will be implemented to impose ban on fodder burning. A fodder bank will be set up at district level to accumulate maximum cattle feed.
Government Proposed a Budget of Rs. 200 Crores to Set Up Nandi Shalas
Despite government investing rigorous efforts and funds in establishing animal shelters in state, it’s really surprising that only 5 lakh animals have benefitted from state-operated schemes. Poor management, food scarcity and lack of funds/labour are leading factors behind the loss. For better management of cattle, State Cow Welfare Minister Otaram Dewasi, announced the opening of Nandi Shalas or ‘bull shelters’ in every district.
These shelters will not just provide food, lodging and safety to male cattle, but it’ll also prevent accidental injuries caused by mad oxen and bulls on road. These animal homes will be backed by ‘Gau sadan’ that will look after ill, injured and physically challenged animals.
A total budget of Rs. 200 crores was projected for this scheme, which will be achieved through public donations and cess levied on ‘Krishi Mandis’. Many communal and social groups like Shiv Sena and Vishwa Hindu Parishad have voluntarily agreed to support this cause. Judging by public’s mood, government looks forward to execute these schemes as soon as possible.
While we cannot reset the loss incurred at Hingonia, we can take precautionary steps to prevent a repeat of such episodes in future. The average number of cattle deaths per month in Jaipur was estimated to be 1,053, despite government allotting an annual budget of Rs. 10.78 crore to each cowshed. This comes as a hard learnt lesson for Rajasthan Government, which is focused on revamping policies and introducing new measures to make up for the loss.