Kolkata: West Bengal’s Mamata government has announced that it will distribute cows to rural households. The particular move is an attempt to boost the production of milk in West Bengal.
State’s Animal Resource Development (ARD) department has chalked out a plan to distribute around 2,000 milch cattle by the end of this financial year. According to Bengal ARD Minister Swapan Debnath, the pilot project has been kicked off in Birbhum district.
“The idea is to increase the milk production in the state. With this, we hope to meet the shortfall. We have planned to distribute 2,000 milch cattle in the first phase till December this year,” Debnath said.
When asked, minister Swapan Debnath refuted such claims stating that the government has been distributing chicken and duck as part of its routine project to make rural households self-reliant and cattle distribution was only the latest in that endeavour.
“There is no question of any politics. Neither does this have any connection to any election,” Debnath told India Today. Officials at the state ARD department claim, the project is a part of the existing central scheme – Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and aims to boost milk production.
The move has already triggered suspicion among the opposition who questions if the Mamata Banerjee government was indulging in “cow politics” ahead of panchayat polls in the state.
“This is to hoodwink the public. It is a political gimmick. They can’t save the cows which is being illegally transported to Bangladesh for slaughtering. The entire government machinery and police are involved in this. Mamata Banerjee has mastered the art of political gimmickry,” alleged Bengal BJP leader Chandra Kumar Bose. Bose even added that the project was being launched in Birbhum as the district had a substantial minority population.
The government claims the state has increased milk production by 16 per cent in the past six years. Annual production of milk has increased to 51.83 lakh metric tonne in 2016-17 from 44.72 lakh metric tonne in 2010-11 when the Mamata Banerjee assumed office in her first term as chief minister.
Source: INDIA TODAY