Mumbai: The State government will recover the subsidy from cattle shelters as land revenue dues from the shelter owners if the subsidy amount is not spent for the stipulated purpose.
The Maharashtra government had approved a scheme to set up shelters for old and unproductive cattle. The State will give an initial seed money of Rs 1 crore to set up these shelters and also provide land wherever possible to interested parties.
Because of the ban on the slaughter of cows and their progeny, there is going to be an increase in the number of unproductive cattle from farming as well as dairy sectors. It is imperative that these animals are taken good care of at this stage of their lives.
The scheme titled Govardhan Govansh Raksha Kendra will be run with the help of organisations operating in the field of cow protection. Initially, the State had planned to set up these centres in 34 of 36
The two districts of Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburban had not been included in the scheme as there is no cattle in these districts.
Only those organisations that have been running cow shelters for at least three years will be eligible for funding under the scheme. As per the latest livestock census, Maharashtra has 1.54 crore cattle-heads, a dip of 4.35 per cent from the 1.61 crore cattle count of 2007. Of this 1.54 crore, nearly 53.24 per cent or 0.82 crore are female and around 23.4 per cent of these do not give milk.
Now, the government has changed the criteria for the scheme. The subsidy will be given to the organisers in four instalments. Before applying for the subsidy, the organisers have to submit a detailed plan of the cattle shelter and the amount, that has been spent on the purpose. The Divisional Public Works Department (PWD) superintendent will verify the work done in the cattle shelter. After the approval from the PWD, the subsidy will be credited to the account of the organisation, that runs the cattle shelter.
If the PWD official found that the amount has not been spent on the said purpose like the construction of the shed or cattle feed or others, the government will recover the subsidy amount as land revenue dues from the organisers.
According to the officer from the Animal Husbandry Department, 13 proposals have been approved and seven more proposals are under scrutiny.
According to experts, the growth of livestock count is very slow as the use of these animals in farming is very less and the farming is done mechanically. Even the landholding capacity of the farmers in the State has been declined. That made buying and retaining of cattle an expensive exercise.
The number of buffaloes, sheep and goats has grown in the State, while cows and their progeny have been fairly static in the last five decades. Buffaloes have grown by 81 per cent in the last 50 years from 30.87 lakh to 55.95 lakh. Sheep and goat have grown by 51 per cent from 72.73 lakh to 1.10 crore. However, the number of cows and their progeny has grown by only 1 per cent from 1.53 crore to 1.54 crore.