CHIEF MINISTER Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday announced that a Gau Mantralaya — cow ministry — will be established in the state to serve cows better. The ministry will replace the Madhya Pradesh Gaupalan Evam Pashudhan Samvardhan Board.
Chouhan made the announcement in Khajuraho where a function to give awards to gaushalas was organised. The announcement comes days before the model code of conduct kicks in the poll-bound state.
Referring to the country’s first cow sanctuary established near Susner, the chief minister said one sanctuary is not enough because the state has a large number of cows. He said more sanctuaries will be set up after exploring availability of land.
The announcement was made in the presence of leading Jain saint Acharya Vidyasaga, who is camping in Khajuraho for Chaturmas. Chouhan’s past announcements about not letting new liquor shops or slaughterhouses to come up in the state or not serving eggs in anganwadis have all come in the presence of Jain community leaders.
Chairman of executive council of the board Swami Akhileshwarnand Giri, who enjoys the status of a Cabinet minister, had recommended establishment of a separate ministry devoted to the cause of cows, citing shortage of funds in the existing arrangement. He told The Indian Express that the contours of the ministry will be announced later.
The opposition Congress, reacting to the announcement, claimed the BJP government was forced by its promise to build gau shala in every panchayat after coming to power. While making the announcement, the Congress had accused the BJP of paying only lip service to the cause of cow and using it to whip up passions.