Venting his ire on the animal welfare board, he asked, “It was set up in 2013 but when do the members meet? Do they even meet? Nobody knows because their work certainly can’t be seen.” He remarked that while the number of livestock was increasing, gauchar land was decreasing. Quoting figures presented in the Assembly, Thakor said that against the requirement of 23,37,367 hectares (ha )of gauchar land, only 17,81,114 ha was available for cattle across the state, a deficit of 5,56,253 ha, which was adversely affecting the Maldhari (cattle herder) community members as they were unable to provide fodder for their cattle, Thakor said.
Talking about Maldharis in Banaskantha, Thakor said, “The poor cannot provide for their cattle and this government is not doing anything to help them. Owners of more than 500 out of the 629 panjrapoles in the state are in debt.” He pointed out that the state government said a year ago that 2,600 villages were without any gauchar land and this year it said that number had gone up to 2,754 villages. “If this is the state in one year, I dread the future,” he said. “There is no policy on gauchar land and its protection, which the government must declare at the earliest,” said Thakor.
-Alpesh Thakor, Congress MLA
Again rattling off figures from the Assembly, he said that 4.7 crore sq mt of gauchar land was encroached upon. “Does the government want to remove this encroachment?” he asked. Thakor said that after 15 days, the Congress, Thakor Sena and Ekta Manch would begin Gauchar Bachao Abhiyan, file a PIL and march to Gandhinagar if the government does not pay heed them. Announcing the immediate plan, he said that on Saturday, they will demand answers from Gauseva Aayog on their work. Later, on Monday, the Thakor Sena will offer prayers to cows with Gangajal at all district collectorates.