Rajasthan will soon have its first ‘cow sanctuary’, a shelter for 10,000 bovines spread over an area of more than 220 hectares in Bikaner district. The state government on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a private trust in this regard, during Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s visit to Bikaner. The cow sanctuary will be the latest in a string of initiatives announced by the BJP government in the state for the protection of bovines since it came to power in 2013. The state already has a ministry dedicated to the welfare of cows and last year it had announced a 10 per cent surcharge on stamp duty towards cow protection.
“This will be the first cow sanctuary in Rajasthan and will be situated in Bikaner’s Napasar. The objective is to dedicate the entire area for cows, much on the lines of a wildlife sanctuary. The signing of the MoU was done on Friday and we are looking to start the facility at the earliest,” Gopalan minister Otaram Dewasi said. He added the sanctuary will be managed by a private trust.
“Facilities in the sanctuary will include hospitals and Sewan grass as fodder for the animals. This particular type of grass is considered to be among the best quality fodder for cows,” said Dewasi.
Members of the trust said that the sanctuary could gradually be developed as a tourist destination.
“The cows which will be kept at the sanctuary would primarily be the animals which are abandoned by their owners after they stop producing milk and become stray animals. Animals rescued from cattle smugglers will also find a place in the facility,” said Rampal Ojha, secretary, Sohanlalji Buladeviji Ojha Gaushala Samiti, the trust that will be managing the sanctuary.