The Congress on Sunday demanded sacking of Chhattisgarh Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Minister Brijmohan Agarwal over the death of about 173 cows in the government-aided cowsheds in Durg and Bemetara districts. Congress state unit chief Bhupesh Baghel alleged that despite sanctioning grants to the tune of crores to cow shelter homes, it is in pathetic condition across the state.
“It clearly reflects the corruption on the part of the (animal husbandry) department and Gau Sewa Ayog officials. Funds being given for maintenance of Gaushala were being siphoned off by the department officials in nexus with the facility owners.
“Neither the inspection of cow shelter homes nor the auditing of the funds sanctioned to them was being done due to kickbacks. Over 200 cows alone died of starvation and thirst at the cowshed ran by BJP leader Harish Verma in Rajpur which had received lakhs of rupees by means of grant for its maintenance. The cattle became victims of kickbacks,” Baghel alleged.
He said that mere suspension of some officials over cow deaths would not serve the purpose. “Chief Minister Raman Singh should immediately sack minister Agrawal and the chairman of the state’s Gau Sewa Ayog from their posts,” the Congress leader demanded. Baghel questioned why the RSS and the BJP were silent over the death of cows in Bemetara and Durg.
“The BJP and RSS workers have been involved in lynching innocent people in the name of cow protection. But now in the Chhattisgarh’s case, why the RSS and BJP leaders have kept themselves mum,” he said. Congress leaders and workers today took out a march in Rajpur area demanding strict punishment to the guilty in cow deaths incident.
On August 28, a massive protest will be staged in Bemetara on several issues, including deaths of cows, alleged lathicharge on villagers when they were demanding strict punishment against rape accused in Berla and others, he said. Later, on August 30, the Congress will stage gherao at the Chief Minister’s residence here while taking stray cows along with them, he added.
Nearly 173 cows died in about one week at three shelter homes in Chhattisgarh following which nine officials, including two deputy directors, of the state’s animal husbandry department have been suspended.