Goa prefers TN to Maharashtra for cows

PTI, PANAJI | 30 March 2013 20:30 IST

Cow market at Erode in TN

Goa has jettisoned its neighbour Maharashtra and opted to purchase cows from Tamil Nadu under a Government-sponsored scheme for dairy farmers.

The State Government has bypassed Kolhapur, the south-west Maharashtra district which has been its traditional market for the animal, and started buying cows from Erode district of Tamil Nadu.

One of the reasons given by officials for the shift in the market is that Erode and Goa share similar weather conditions.

Another reason is to prevent dairy farmers from indulging in any irregularities while buying the animal in order to avail of Government benefits.

“The cows from Kolhapur were not able to adjust to Goa’s climate. They were panting and could not stand the weather, resulting in a drop in milk production,” a senior Government official told PTI.

The Manohar Parrikar Government, which took charge in March last year, dropped the Kolhapur market and decided to tap Erode, a sea-facing destination with climate similar to Goa’s, he said.

The Government has been purchasing ‘Holstein Friesian’ and ‘Jersey’ varieties of cow in a bid to increase milk production in the coastal State.

The change in the destination was done in November last year while redesigning the ‘Kamdhenu’ scheme for dairy farmers.

“Under the old scheme, the cows were shown as purchased from Kolhapur, while actually the animal was never brought to the State. The money was siphoned off by submitting fake bills (obtained by farmers in collusion with potential sellers),” another official said.

The distance between Erode and Goa is 859 km and the Government’s redesigned scheme makes it mandatory for the contractor to transport the animal from there to farms in Goa.

“We have reserved the right to reject the animal,” the official said.

The State Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services Department holds camps every Tuesday, either at the Government’s farms at Copordem (Sattari taluka) or Dhat (Sanguem taluka), where farmers flock in large numbers to buy animals.

“From November 2012 onwards, 1,354 cows had been purchased by dairy farmers under the Kamdhenu scheme,” he said, adding the animals are priced between Rs 35,000 and Rs 58,000 per head.

Under the scheme, subsidies are provided to dairy farmers to buy cows.

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