Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, presenting the Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling (Amendment) Bill 2019, in the state legislature on Friday said the Gaushalas and panjrapoles in Kutch district get donations of more than Rs 150 crore every year, adding the government will also not stay behind in supporting these centres that protect cows, reports Indian Express.
Expressing both happiness and surprise at the figures, the minister said, “In Kutch, these panjrapoles and gaushalas get donations of more than Rs 150 crore from the state. We have decided to exempt them from the provisions of the Agricultural Lands Ceiling Act (1960),” Patel was quoted as saying.
The minister announced that the government will exempt these gaushalas from the provisions of the Agricultural Lands Ceiling Act (1960).
“When this is our culture, when people are doing so much, saints and temples are (also doing), then why should the government remain behind. So, we decided to exempt them from the provisions of the Agricultural Lands Ceiling Act (1960),” said Patel, while tabling the Bill that was later passed on the floor of the house unanimously with support of the Congress MLAs.
He said that the affinity that people of Gujarat have for cows is not easily understandable for outsiders. “Every year individuals, temples and institutions make crores of donations to the gaushalas for fodder and cattle car. Kutch is the biggest district of Gujarat, bigger than Kerala,” he said.
Saying that the border district fell in the arid zone that receives less rainfall and is prone to droughts, Patel informed the House that these gaushalas were taking care of thousands of cows as Kutch was passing through a phase of drought.
He also cited that Kutch is currently going through a phase of drought and where thousands of cattle are being protected of in such gaushalas.
Clarifying that the the state government was not giving any land to the gaushalas under the Bill, Patel explained how these institutions help the government as well. “If such institutions were not functional, then imagine the amount of work and expenditure that the government would have to spend in saving these animals (affected by drought),” he said.
Saying that the Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling Act 1960 that restricted holding agricultural land in excess posed a hurdle in expansion of gaushalas, the minister said that the amendment will resolve the long-pending cases and appeals.
BJP MLA C K Raulji pointed out that the Bill would benefit 433 gaushalas and panjrapoles, which house over 2.6 lakh cattle.
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