Meeting between CM and Banaskantha Panjrapol operators successful; announcement likely this week

Gandhinagar: Chief Minister Vijay Rupani late in the evening on Sunday in Gandhinagar held meeting with operators of permanent cow shelters in district Banaskantha in North Gujarat over the issue of fodder supply. BJP MLA Shashikant Pandya was one among those who attended the meeting.

After the meeting, Kant Panjrapol operator Bahrat Kothari said the government gave assurance to provide fodder for free of cost. The government has however made no announcement post meeting. Announcement from government is likely this week. It could be more quota of fodder at subsidized rate or free quota of fodder. It could be effective for Banaskantha district or for entire State.

There are 97 Gaushalas operating in Banakantha district. The operators are seeking free local flavor fodder supply from government. The government at present offers fodder at Rs 2 per Kg to Gaushalas. According to government, the cost of fodder is Rs 10 per Kg, but it is supplied at subsidized rate. The government says, it can supply fodder for free or at further subsidized rates only when scarcity is declared as per the manuals and rules.

The Panjrapol operators however claim that fodder supplied by government is sources from other parts of the state. It is not fresh. The cows in Banakantha don’t consume such fodder. Panjrapol operators are seeking locally sourced fodder. They also seek fodder subsidy to be replaced with cash assistance. They say the government instead of bearing Rs 8 per Kg subsidy cost, should give direct cash assistance. The Panjrapol operators also seek cattle feed in addition to fodder. They also seek fodder for free in view of flood situation in Banakantha in previous year.

The government on the other side believes that operating Panjrapols is volunteer activity. While government is ready to extend some help, the Panjrapol manages their operation largely through public donations. They can ask for help from the government, but can’t press for it. It is not the government that has asked them to run Panjrapols. It is an activity of service to cattle that they have on their own accepted to do.

Panjrapol operators however claim that they keep lot of cattle that are handed over to them from police. Such cattle are captured by police while on way to illegal slaughter or while moving on roads and obstructing traffic. Panjrapol operators argue that they are custodian of such cattle on behalf of government and therefore they need to be compensated for keeping such cattle.