DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand government will provide 30,000 cows to hundreds of farmers with the twin objectives of improving dairy sector and boosting livelihood of those engaged in agriculture,
especially in hill areas.
Pithoragarh and US Nagar are the most affected districts in Uttarakhand, which has seen nearly half a
dozen debt-ridden farmers end their lives this year. The BJP government was put on the back foot by the opposition Congress after these farmer deaths.
Officials in the cooperative department informed Hindustan Times that the exercise would be held in phases and the government order for doling out the first batch of milch cows would be issued in next two-three days. Around 1,100 cows would be distributed in the first phase within the next 40 days.
The plan would be implemented in all 13 districts after its formal inauguration by chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat during the ‘Navratras’ or any other auspicious occasion. “Launch functions will be held in every district simultaneously,” dairy development and co-operatives minister Dhan Singh Rawat told Hindustan Times.
Another 10,000 cows would be handed out in the second phase in the next one year. The remaining cattle would be handed out to farmers over the next period of two years.
“We have decided to purchase cows from three-four reputed dairies and government hybrid centres, including the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal. This will be the largest exercise to strengthen livelihood of farmers in the 17 years of the state. Beneficiaries will be farmers who are members of Uttarakhand Cooperative Development Federation, better known by its brand name ‘Anchal’,” the minister said.
Established in 2001, Uttarakhand Co-operative Dairy Federation Ltd. is an apex level state federation of district milk co-operative unions in the state. All the 13 districts are covered by 11 district level milk unions. All the 13 districts are covered by 11 district level milk unions. Anchal has 10 dairies with production capacity of 2.55 lakh litre milk per day. Another 1.25 lakh litre of milk is collected per day at 45 collection centres.
Nearly 60% of milk produced in the state is adulterated but the culprits remain free, mainly because food and safety department officials have failed to work properly, he said. “We have also sought permission from the government to allow our department test milk samples from dairies and to initiate action against those involved in adulteration. The department will distribute free milk testing kits to the consumers in coming days,” the minister added.