If Haryana Gau Seva Aayog has its way, crematoriums in Haryana would shift to use of cow dung cakes in funeral pyres, and use of firewood would be a thing of the past. The cow commission is in the process of providing dung cake making machines to a total of 437 gaushalas across the state.
Chairman of Haryana Gau Seva Aayog Bhani Ram Mangla told TOI: “We have received quotations for cow dung making machines. Each machine would cost around Rs30,000. In the next five months, we expect to deliver such machines to gaushalas.”
Mangla reasoned that the commission’s initiative would make gaushalas self-dependent by selling cow dung cakes, as a cow produces an average of 5kg dung per day. At the same time, it would also save felling of hundreds of trees for use in funeral pyres, he said.
Not only is the cow revered in Hinduism, but its dung also has a spiritual significance, he said, adding that even before placing the dead body on the floor, it was smeared with cow dung.
“We will provide cow dung making machines to gaushalas free of cost, and I am trying that private firms lend a helping hand for funding these machines,” said Mangla. Over 100kg firewood is required to burn a body. Around 1,000 cow dung cakes would be required in place of wood. The rate at which cow dung cakes would be sold by gaushalas is yet to be decided.
A total of 437 ‘gaushalas’ across the state accommodate around three lakh bovine animals, and as per Mangla, the commission is making efforts to bring around 40,000 bovines roaming the streets into gaushalas. He informed that construction work of two cow sanctuaries at Panipat and Hisar at the cost of Rs4.25 crore each has already started.
“We have also mooted a proposal to come up with ‘gaugrah’ (cowshed) in every village, with panchayat funding. It would be controlled by a committee headed by the sarpanch. There are not more than 30-40 stray animals in any village which could be kept in ‘gaugrah’,” said Mangla.
Aayog is also working to implement a number of its earlier proposed schemes, including setting up of a solar system and starting of biogas plants in gaushalas, opening of gaushalas in jail premises, and planting around 23 lakh saplings in and around gaushalas this monsoon season.