The scheme will be implemented at a cost of Rs 431 crore by the department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) to 25,000 beneficiaries of which 40 per cent are from Scheduled Castes.
K S Palanisamy, Director, RDPR said “The entire cost of the construction of the shelters would be borne by the government and will be implemented through Village Panchayats. The works will be done through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.” According to a Government Order, 15,000 would be built for cows and 10,000 for goats.
The per unit construction cost of a shelter to accommodate two cows is Rs 1.35 lakh and for five cows is Rs 2.12 lakh. The average cost of a shelter for 10 goats is Rs 1.53 lakh and for 20 goats Rs 2.27 lakh. The lack of shelters for cattle affects the body temperature of cattle which is crucial for impregnating a cow through artificial insemination. The average life span and milk yielding capacity of cattle also comes down, farmers said.
M G Rajendran, General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Milk Producers’ Welfare Association said, “On average, a farmer can earn Rs 500 to Rs 1000 per week through milk alone. The shelter will help the cattle in boosting the milk production in the State.” Pointing to the 2011 initiative of the government where free milch cows and goats were distributed to farmers, he added, “The feed cost is higher and this would enhance the economic output for farmers significantly. The government should give priority to those farmers who received milch cows under scheme.’