The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh has decided to approach non-resident Indians for funds for Project Gaushala, which is running behind schedule.
The Kamal Nath government had in late January announced that it would build 1,000 gaushala (cow shelters) in four months to accommodate around 1 lakh stray cows and progeny, while accusing the previous BJP regime of not building a single government-run gaushala. The government estimated that the project would entail expenditure of at least Rs 300 crore.
The proposal to involve NRIs came from the Chief Minister himself. He had called a meeting to review the progress of the project on Thursday. The meeting considered placing advertisements in overseas newspapers to reach out to NRIs, and discussed ways to simplify rules to facilitate donation of funds.
Four months since the announcement, not one government run-gaushala has come up. Some organisations did respond to advertisements placed in February, but soon the model code of conduct came into effect with the election schedule being announced.
An official present at the meeting told The Indian Express that NGOs willing to participate in the project were being directed to approach district collectors so that they could suggest changes in under-construction gaushalas. Nearly 250 bhoomipujan ceremonies have been performed and 955 spots finalized. Currently, the panchayat concerned will be in-charge of the gaushalas. “If the panchayat wants, it can enter into an MoU with an NGO to run the gaushala,’’ the official said.
Running big gaushalas in collaboration with corporate entities was another model discussed at the meeting. The corporates will be given land and stray cattle and it will be up to them to make money, like by generating bio-CNG.
Nath told the meeting that he was willing to listen to every donor, whether the money was Rs 1 or Rs 50 crore, when it comes to building gaushalas. Presently, MNREGA funds are being mainly used to build gaushalas.