The state government, which is setting up a cow sanctuary in collaboration with the central government at Dharampur near Porbandar, has recently released a sum of Rs. 75 lakh for the purpose.
The sanctuary is to be set up over an area of 900 hectares. But the land is yet to be allotted. While 100 hectares would be used for building 1,000 cow sheds, 800 hectares would be used for fodder production.
The institutes to be involved in the activity are Junagadh Agricultural University(JAU) and the newly set up Kamdhenu University having its offices at Karma Yogi Bhawan in Gandhinagar. The total cost of the project is estimated to be over Rs. 64 crores in the first phase. The money owuld be used for construction of cow sheds, administrative offices and water reservoirs.
JAU vice chancellor A R Pathak told this newspaper that the basic purpose of the project is not only to preserve the Gir and other breeds of the cows found in the state but also increase their milk yield to increase income for the farmers engaged in animal husbandry activities. The sanctuary would also serve as shelter place for weak, debilitated, non-lactating and abandoned cows.
Kandhenu University vice chancellor M C Varshneya hoped that the population of cows of local breed would go up with the setting up of the sanctuary. Presently, the cattle-breeders preferred buffaloes as it yielded more milk. Against 7.4 per cent annual growth of cows in the state, growth of buffaloes in the state currently was 23 per cent.