The Madhya Pradesh government has allotted Rs 11 crore to the animal husbandry department for the financial year 2020-21, leaving the department with a shortfall of 90 per cent from the Rs 132 crore that was allotted to it the previous year.
The drastic drop in the budget leaves the department with Rs 1.60 per day for the upkeep of over 1.8 lakh cows in the 1,300 shelters that are dependent on the money across the state.
The department will have to run the shelters, procure cow feed, look after the maintenance of bio-gas plants and vermi compost and other expenses with the Rs 11.80 crores sanctioned for the financial year.
"We spend between Rs 200-250 to feed a cow per day. We cannot even think of feeding a calf for one time in 1.60 paise," said Rakesh Malviya, who runs a cow shelter on the outskirts of Bhopal, reacting to the daily split that would be allotted to cow shelters as per the new budget.
Ramsharan Meena, who sells fodder to people interested in feeding cows, also admied that it's impossible to feed a cow for 1.60 paise. "What can be fed to a cow in a day with Re 1," he asked.
Animal Husbandry Minister Prem Patel said that he has asked the state Finance Minister Jagdish Devda to release more funds for the department. "We have requested the Finance minister to release the funds and he assured him of positive outcome. We are concerned about Gau mata (cow)," he said.
The development has prompted the opposition Congress to hit out at the BJP with former minister Jeetu Patwari alleging that the BJP leaders are not really concerned about cows. "We have built more then 1,000 cow shelters in the state. We request Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to increase budget for cow's in government shelters," he said.