As many as 33 crore eco-friendly earthen lamps or diyas, made from cow dung, will be produced by Diwali next month, the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog said on Monday. It is being seen as India's counter to Chinese lights.
Set up in 2019 for the protection, promotion and conservation of indigenous cattle in the country, the Aayog has started a nationwide campaign to encourage use of cow dung-based products during the forthcoming festival.
"Rejecting China-made diyas, the campaign will boost 'Make in India' concept of the Prime Minister and swadeshi movement," Aayog's Chairman Vallabhbhai Kathiria said in a press conference here.
More than 15 states have agreed to be part of the campaign. About 3 lakh diyas will be lit in the holy city of Ayodhya, while 1 lakh diyas in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, he said.
"The manufacturing has started. We are targeting 33 crore diyas before Diwali," he said.
About 192 crore kilo of cow dung per day is produced in India at present. There is huge untapped potential in cow dung-based products, he said.
The Aayog said though it is not directly involved in production of cow dung-based products, it is facilitating and offering training to self help groups and entreprenuers seeking to set up business.
Besides diyas, the Aayog is promoting production of other products made from dung, urine and milk such as anti-radiation chip, paper weights, Ganesha and Lakshmi idols, incense sticks, candles among others.
Kathiria said this initiative will help cow shelters (Gaushals), which are currently in financial trouble due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to become self-reliant besides creating job opportunities in rural India.
"The trend needs to be reversed and popular perception about cow and cow-based agriculture and cow-based industry need to be corrected immediately for social and economic rejuvenation of society particularly poor in rural areas," he added.
A series of webinars are being organised with stakeholders like farmers, cow shelter operators, entreprenuers to be part of this campaign, he added.
(With PTI inputs)