In MP cabinet meet on cows, a host of key decisions

Use of cow-dung cakes to fuel kitchen stoves and to replace chemical fertilizer; cow urine as a pest control treatment and medicine; cow milk to improve the health of malnourished children; and the opening of 4,000 cattle shelters that will be run by self-help groups to generate an income. And a likely cow cess to fund the plans.

The decisions were made at the first Madhya Pradesh cabinet meeting on the cow held on Saturday by video link that decided to brand the cow as a “holy mother” with the potential to solve problems confronting women, children, farmers and the environment, officials said on Sunday.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, home minister Narottam Mishra, forest minister Vijay Shah, agriculture minister Kamal Patel, rural development minister Mahendra Singh Sisodia, and animal husbandry minister Prem Singh Patel participated in the meeting that decided to launch an awareness campaign to educate people about the many beneficial properties of the cow and its by-products.

“The conservation of the cow is important for environmental conservation. Cow milk will be used to improve heath of malnourished children. Cow dung will be used as a replacement for the wood and chemical fertilizer to save the environment. Cow urine will be used as pest control and medicine,” Chauhan said.

“The 4000 cow shelters will be opened in the state where production units for making cow-dung cakes, organic manure, pesticide and milk powder will be set up in public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Self-help groups will run the cow shelters. The government’s focus is on making people, especially women self-reliant, through the cow shelters,” said a senior officer who attended the meeting, requesting anonymity.

Madhya Pradesh already has 1,300 cow shelters for 180,000 cows.

The CM also announced that his government would to develop India’s first cow sanctuary in Agar Malwa district as a cow research institute. After the cabinet meeting, Chouhan visited the cow sanctuary and offered prayer a on the occasion of Gopashtami.

Animal husbandry department Prem Singh Patel said the meeting also discussed levying a cow cess but a final decision on it will be taken at a later date. In November 2019, the then Congress-led-state government also decided to levy a cow cess in the face of a funding crunch.

Congress spokesperson JP Dhanopia said, “The BJP-led-state government’s decisions are a duplication of plans proposed by previous Congress-led state government.”

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