August 6, 2021 11:39:46 pm
Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Friday defended the leasing out of a piece of Shamlat land (village common land) in Balongi village, and said that the land would be used to build a gaushala (cow shed) which was ‘purely charitable and not commercial’.
The Indian Express had on August 4 reported that how 10.4 acre of Shamlat (village common land) of Balongi village near Mohali had been given on lease to a trust headed by Sidhu, despite protests from locals.
Addressing the media at Bal Gopal Gaushala Welfare Society on Friday, Sidhu said that the land is purely dedicated to the well-being of abandoned bovines, not for commercial purposes. “If anyone wants to know the purpose, he may visit the site to see the commercial activities running there,” he said.
Rubbishing allegations made by his political rivals, the Cabinet Minister said, “Is it a mistake to construct a gaushala after I made a commitment to the people of Mohali that I will make this city stray animal free so that the road mishaps could be prevented and precious lives of innocent people, as well as animals, can be saved.’’
In the presence of all trustees of the gaushala and those from the panchayat of Balongi, Sidhu said that all the trustees of the gaushala were renowned industrialists and prominent citizens of Mohali, whose main motive was purely the well-being of the abandoned bovines.
He further stated, “We are trying hard to make a state of the art semen laboratory here, where research work on foetus transplant would be taken up to ensure that only female calves are born.”
He said that the land was lying unused and was being encroached upon by people. But now the panchayat was going to get income from the lease deeds.
Meanwhile, general secretary of Bal Gopal Gau Basera Welfare Society, Naresh Kansal, said that he along with other trustees had been working tirelessly for the last 4 years to provide better facilities and shelter to the stray and abandoned cows of the area. They had earlier been managing the Municipal Corporation Gaushala in 2017-18, but were highly distressed by the lack of space, facilities, and diet provided to the cows.
Kansal said that Mohali residents have been constantly demanding a gaushala with more space and modern facilities and hence they approached the health minister to help them with getting the land on lease.
Anurag Aggarwal, a trustee of the Bal Gopal Gau Basera Welfare Society, said that to date more than Rs 1 crore has been invested to construct the cowshed. The money has been donated by the trustees or raised from people through voluntary contributions. Our aim is to also set up a diagnostic-cum-health center and a community hall on the land for the use of the poor, and all these facilities shall be provided to thrm free of cost. The total budget for this would be more than Rs 5 crore.
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