In Banaskantha district, where gaushalas under the Gujarat Gau Sewa Sangh let loose their cattle into government premises protesting non-release of funds to them, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the Mukhyamantri Gau Mata Poshan Yojana on Friday, a day ahead of another protest announced by the same organisation in Ambaji.
The Gujarat government announced Thursday evening that the scheme, announced in the 2022-’23 state budget, will be launched by the PM during his visit to Ambaji.
During the protest by gaushalas last week, Minister for Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Cow Breeding Raghavji Patel had told The Indian Express that the scheme was stuck in “administrative tangles”.
The scheme allocates Rs 500 crore under which Rs 30 will be spent per cow per day in registered panjrapols and gaushalas in Gujarat. Gujarat Gau Seva Sangh, a conglomerate of 1,750 cow shelters, panjrapols and gaushalas housing 4.5 lakh cattle in the state, has been agitating against the delay in releasing the fund of Rs 500 crore to registered cattle pounds and shelters.
The gaushalas set the cattle free on highways and government buildings, along with declaring a silent protest on Friday with over 5,000 persons during Modi’s visit to Ambaji. They also announced to launch Gau Adhikar Yatra from Tharad in Banaskantha on October 1.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the Mukhyamantri Gau Mata Poshan Yojana from Ambaji on the occasion of Navratri tomorrow (Friday),” the state government release issued Thursday evening said, adding, “The PM will symbolically donate the amount of aid to five gaushalas and panjrapols during the launch.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Vipulbhai Mali, general secretary of the Gujarat Gau Seva Sangh, said, “We were informed by the senior police officials about the announcement. No official communication has been received yet from the state government… it might come tomorrow morning as PM’s visit is in the evening.”
On the silent protest and yatra, Mali said, “We have informed everyone about the development and asked them not to protest at Ambaji. We have also called off the Gau Adhikar Yatra on October 1.”
“In Indian culture, cow is worshipped and reverred as mother and Kamdhenu… Mukhymantri Gau Mata Poshan Yojana is for the protection and welfare of cows,” the government release added.
The Indian Express reported on September 25 that amid calls to boycott the ruling BJP in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections, the panjrapols and gaushalas were surrendering keys and releasing cows in Banaskantha, Kutch, Patan, Rajkot and Junagadh. Over the past week, videos went viral of cow herds entering government buildings, including offices, courts and collectorate.
As per the government release, the PM is scheduled to lay the foundation stone and dedicate various development projects worth over Rs 7,200 crore in Ambaji. These include 45,000 houses under the PM Awas Yojana, Taranga Hill–Ambaji-Abu Road broad gauge line and development of pilgrimage facilities at Ambaji temple.
Other projects for which foundation stones will be laid include construction of the runway and associated infrastructure at Air Force Station, Deesa, and Ambaji bypass road.
The PM will also dedicate the 62-kilometre Palanpur-New Mehsana section of Western Freight Dedicated Corridor and the 13-km Palanpur-New Chatodar section (Palanpur bypass line). It will enhance connectivity to Pipavav, Deendayal Port Authority (Kandla), Mundra and other ports of Gujarat.