National Gaushala conference: Debate on Cow with Prakash Javadekar, Radha Mohan Singh

NEW DELHI,NIKHIL M GHANEKAR: Environment minister Prakash Javadekar and agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh faced protests and their speeches were interrupted with slogans during the national conference on ‘Gaushalas ‘held at Vigyan Bhavan on Monday. Participants from various cow shelters were agitated that the Centre was not doing enough to protect cows against alleged smuggling across the country’s border nor it was doing much for conserving the Indian breed of cows.

The national conference was held at Vigyan Bhavan, where over 1,500 registered cow shelters, bureaucrats and scientists participated. The conference saw the ministers speak on increasing milk productivity and improving provision of fodder.
During his speech, Radha Mohan Singh said that the Centre was providing allowance to cow shelters in Rajasthan. Reacting to this statement, participants from different cow shelters stood up and countered the minister’s claims. They said that funds were not received for conservation of cows. The minister was hard pressed to placate the protesting participants and assured to look into the matter.
Further, participants also alleged that cows were smuggled across the country’s border and exhorted both union ministers to take action against it. Prakash Javadekar had to intervene to ease the participants. He said that the conference was organised to look into all these issues and the suggestions of every gaushala would be considered.
To add to the embarrassment faced by the ministers, a few participants had a few grouses against the ‘event bag’ that was provided to them. They complained that instead of featuring the picture of a local breed, the ‘event bag’ had a jersey cow printed on it.
Speaking to dna, some of the participants said that the Centre should first be serious about protection of cows before making claims on enabling and strengthening cow shelters. “There is enough politics on this issue, but we need to see more action on the ground. Protecting cows and conserving them after their milk production falls is crucial. While we talk of cows, we also need bulls for mating and to improve the pedigree of Indian cow breeds,” said Prithvi Pal of the Maharishi Dayanand Gau Sanvardhan Kendra, Delhi.
The national conference, organised in the middle of the one of the worst droughts in the country, had drawn criticism from the animal welfare board. RM Kharb, the board’s chairman had earlier written to the ministry and he had suggested that considering the difficulties faced by cow shelters during the drought situation, the seminar should be pushed ahead.