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The Uttar Pradesh government is mulling making sweets made of cow-milk available as 'prasad' at temples by Navratra, state Dairy Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary said.
The minister in an interview to PTI said this will be done through the ongoing projects of his department in districts where there are prominent religious shrines and temples.
"In a bid to popularise cow-milk, the plan is to make available sweets made of it as 'prasad' at temples in Mathura, Ayodhya, Vindhyachal and at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. If all goes as per the plan, then devotees may get the 'prasad' by the onset of Navratra," he said.
He said the department is planning to bring different products made of cow-milk in the market by Navratra. "This will be a gift to the people, and efforts are being made in this direction," Chaudhary said.
Elaborating on the government's plan to encourage farmers to rear cows, the minister said, "At present cow's milk sells at Rs 22 per litre and that of a buffalo at Rs 35 a litre. The target is to bring the selling price of cow's milk to Rs 42 a litre."
This way a farmer will find it viable to rear a cow and it will "actually" be looked after, he said.
Chaudhary said in Chhattisgarh, a litre of cow's milk sells at Rs 60 while in his home district, Mathura, it was Rs 45.
Taking a jibe at BJP's rivals, the minister said, "People think that we talk of cows only to reiterate our pro-Hindu image. The fact is cow's milk boosts the immunity and helps in combating fat, cholesterol and even kidney ailments."
"The dairy industry is incurring loss as pricing of milk is different. From August onwards, the Pradeshik Cooperative Dairy Federation will streamline the rate," he said.
The dairy plant in Kannauj will be used for manufacturing various cow milk products on a pilot project basis, the minister said.
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