TN livestock scheme keeps trotting

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The free livestock scheme, the pet project of chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, becomes the first project to attain its target.

As a bonus to the scheme, the number of lambs and goat kids born to the brood stock supplied to beneficiaries will touch the 10,000 mark in two days, highly-placed sources confirmed.

“The chief minister, in the policy announcement, said 1 lakh families will be given 4 lakh goats and 12,000 families will get one milch cow each.

The scheme has attained cent per cent completion for the last fiscal and the feedback is positive,” an official said.

Though the project, like other schemes, was marred by civic polls, by-elections, bureaucratic procedures and technical aspects required on animal purchase and lack of staff, the scheme has attained its target.

“We do not say that the project is all flowery and the results are rosy: like any government project, this one also underwent initial flaws and mortalities in a few places.

Those obstacles were overcome by roping in felid veterinarians and, en masse vaccinations were done.

In the case of animals dying, insurance cover came in handy to bale out the beneficiaries,” a senior animal husbandry official admitted.

The goats are reared with ease and lambs can fetch good money when they are about 5-6 months old.

The government is planning to procure these lamb kids so that the beneficiaries are directly benefited through the government and, at the same time, the animal husbandry department can monitor the brood stock supplied to the farmers, a senior animal husbandry official said.

Periodical review meetings by field veterinarians are conducted and the top brass at the secretariat regularly monitor the database on the survival and the milk supply of these animals to ensure that the project is a hit, the senior veterinarian added.

The government has also passed orders to award and motivate farmers who rear the freebie animals with best maintenance.

Tanuvas VC finds rural women upbeat

In contrast to all other government doles, the free cattle scheme stands out for its many advantages and the real empowerment of rural women being only one among them.

Several beneficiaries, particularly widows and destitutes, are thrilled about the scheme as it has helped add to their monthly income, opined Dr R. Prabhakaran, vice-chancellor, Tamil Nadu veterinary and animal sciences university.

The advantage of the scheme is that a family asset is created when these livestock breed. The beneficiaries from remote villages like Athoor and Kalivasal are now working overtime on livestock breeding to improve their family income.

At present, the university is working on training the farmers in selecting the quality cattle they need to purchase and how to rear them.

Besides, the varsity has started working on steps to reduce the mortality rate among goats and sheep which is usually about 15-50 per cent.

Cross-breeding is a major problem that results in mortality and the farmers are now advised to swap the males and go for frequent vaccination so that a healthy gene pool is established, the top veterinarian explained.

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