Raipur: The Chhattisgarh government sees the Godhan Nyay Yojana, a rural economy development scheme launched Monday to produce vermicompost from cattle dung procured from farmers, as a revenue model worth Rs 2,300 crore.
According to officials, the government will procure cattle dung worth Rs 1,730 crore annually from gothans, which are protected and fenced space for cattle, once they become operational in around 11,700 gram panchayats of the state over the next few months.
The operationalisation of the targeted 5,300 gothans, of which 2,785 have been constructed, will require around Rs 570 crore. These will be established as rural industry centres where apart from cattle dung procurement, various other products will also be manufactured with the help of self-help groups.
The vermicompost produced from the cow dung at these centres will be worth over Rs 2,300 crore. It will be sold to farmers of the state, along with the forest, agriculture and horticulture departments, among others.
The scheme will benefit nearly 17 lakh registered farmers in the state, who will be able to buy farm-friendly vermicompost and maintain the soil health. This apart, about 5 lakh marginal and landless farmers, especially the shepherds, will be able to earn a minimum income of Rs 6,000 per month.
“The government intends to establish such cattle dung based rural industrial centers with the concept of holistic development in the villages which can be later turned into self-sustaining business models,” said Chhattisgarh Panchayat and Rural Development Minister T.S. Singh Deo.
“As part of this scheme, a total of five acres of land has been reserved in every gram panchayat. Out of this, three acres of land are earmarked for Gothans and the remaining 2 acres are for setting up cattle dung-based rural industrial centers,” said Deo.
“However, in the initial stages its scope is limited to production of vermicompost in gothans and efforts to sell it,” he added.
Deo said the landless farmers, especially shepherds who raise 100-150 cows, buffalo and other livestock, can sell around one quintal of cattle dung per day with the help of this scheme.
“This way, they will be able to earn Rs 200 per day or Rs 6,000 per month. The Godhan Nyay Yojana will prove to be a powerful model in the direction of strengthening the rural economy, although making these gothans self-sustainable would also a big challenge,” said the minister.
Also read: RSS sees ‘huge potential’ in Baghel govt’s cow dung scheme in Chhattisgarh, offers support
How the business will work
The government’s revenue model for Godhan Nyay Yojana depends on the 1.2 crore cows and buffaloes in the state. Estimates show these livestock animals produce about 60 million kg dung on a daily basis. Of this, farmers keep around 25-30 per cent for their own use and the same amount is removed as its not fit for vermicompost production.
The government is looking to procure the remaining 40 per cent, or around 24 million kg, of the total dung at the rate of Rs 2 per kg, which adds up to Rs 4.8 crore on a daily basis, or Rs 1,728 crore per year.
This is a far-sighted project to strengthen the rural economy, which can later translate into a solid business model, said Pradeep Sharma, the planning advisor to the Bhupesh Baghel government who holds a prominent role in the implementation of this scheme.
“Initially, the gothans would require government’s assistance for dung procurement and vermicompost manufacturing, but once they get well established, these centres will become self-sufficient. In the coming days, it can become a great template for strengthening of the rural economy,” said Sharma, adding that these centres will be constructed in every village.
Publicity stunt, says BJP
The BJP said the Bhupesh Baghel government’s scheme will prove to be a flop show. “This is like a proverbial case of the obvious needs no evidence,” said Dharamlal Kaushik, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly.
“According to the government, protection of stray cattle by bringing them to these gothans is also part of the scheme. Apart from ensuring their safety, this will also curtail the number of road accidents caused by stray cattle. But nothing like this looks to be happening. Stray cattle are still roaming around freely on the streets,” he said.
“In the last year and a half, the Baghel government has not been able to implement a single public welfare scheme. All this is empty talk only. It is nothing more than a publicity stunt,” added Kaushik.
Also read: Skill mapping, MoUs, changes in labour laws — how Chhattisgarh plans to employ 7 lakh migrants