In a first of its kind programme in the country, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on Friday launched a 100-strong fleet of animal mobile ambulances aimed at complementing the State government’s welfare programmes for the empowerment of castes involved in traditional professions.
Launching the ambulance fleet at People’s Plaza, the Chief Minister said no other State in the country had made such a concerted effort to ensure veterinary care for livestock. “The government has always dreamt of a vibrant rural economy which is economically independent, and the dream is now coming true,” he said.
“The Yadav community (shepherds) are in vast numbers across the State, about 30 lakh in population. Also known as Golla Kurumas, they are in majority, but we are forced to import 650 truckloads of livestock into the State. This is shameful. We are also dependent on States like Karnataka and Gujarat for milk. We procure close to eight lakh litres from these States,” Chandrashekar Rao pointed out, squarely blaming the successive government in undivided Andhra Pradesh for mismanagement and marginalisation of the sheep herding communities.
“We are now focused on developing Kheti Badi (farming and animal rearing) in the State. Shepherds, farmers and fishermen are our true human resources. That is why the government has taken up this move at an astounding budget of Rs. 5,000 crore,” he said.
So far, 18,74,000 sheep had been given away as part of the State government’s sheep distribution scheme, and by Dasara it plans to achieve a target of distributing 20 lakh animals, the Chief Minister said. “We need to have self-confidence in anything we do. Bureaucrats, ministers and officials are working tirelessly to achieve the targets. Till date, we have received eight lakh requests from the community for animals, and from the looks of it, this seems like a programme that is not going to stop anytime soon,” he said.
Stating that Telangana should emerge as a meat-exporting State, the Chief Minister said it should be able to meet the demand for meat from both within the country as well as abroad. “Within the next four years, we can take pride in saying that we have the wealthiest Yadavas,” the chief minister said.
Elaborating on future plans, he said the government plans to give fisheries department also a similar push and has already set aside a budget of Rs. 1,000 crores for the purpose. Drawing a parallel with the State government’s efforts in eliminating the power crisis in the state, he said the same would be done for pisciculture and fisherfolks in the State.
Coming down heavily on the opposition parties, who he said were trying to stall government’s moves by filing cases against projects like Kaleshwaram, he said the government would move ahead regardless of their attempts. “We have a budget of Rs 25,000 crore for irrigation. I have spoken to a consortium of banks and they have agreed to give us an additional Rs. 20,000 crore. This is an all-time record,” he added.
The availability of veterinarians, doctors and veterinary officials will prove to be a boon for the shepherds. The Chief Minister also had a word of advice for the veterinary doctors stating that instead of waiting for a distress call from someone, the animal ambulances should make periodic trips to various places where livestock was being raised.
Source: Telangana Today