Friday October 18, 2019
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New Cross-Border Corridor Between India And Pakistan For Sikh Pilgrims

India and Pakistan's independence's from Britain in 1947 divided the Punjab province where Sikhism was born.

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Indian Sikh pilgrims arrive at Wagha railway station to attend the birth anniversary of their spiritual leader Baba Guru Nanak, in Pakistan. VOA

South Asian arch rivals India and Pakistan have agreed to establish a new cross-border corridor to enable religious devotees from India’s minority Sikh community to visit a historic holy temple on the Pakistani side.

Analysts said the gesture to build the entry point could help lower long-running border tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Thursday his government has already conveyed to New Delhi the decision to open the proposed Kartarpur Corridor for the 550th anniversary celebrations next year of the birth of Guru Nanak, the Sikhism founder.

“We welcome the Sikh community to Pakistan for this auspicious occasion,” Qureshi tweeted. He announced Prime Minister Imran Khan will lay the foundation stone next Wednesday to begin construction on the Pakistani side.

Sikh Community, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh
Children belonging to Sikh Community, Wikimedia

Qureshi’s statement came hours after India announced it had decided to build and develop its side of the corridor on the International border.

The Indian Foreign Ministry, in a letter delivered through the Pakistani diplomatic mission in New Delhi, said the government has “approached and urged” Pakistan “to recognize the sentiments of the Sikh community” and construct the Kartarpur Corridor with “suitable facilities” to facilitate visits of pilgrims from India.

The proposed border corridor aims to connect the Sikh Holy shrine at Dera Baba Nanak in India to the Kartarpur Gurdwara (temple) in the Pakistani town of Narowal. It is barely three kilometers from the border with India and considered to be the first gurdwara ever built. The place of worship is also known to be the final resting place of the Sikhism founder.

Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said India’s “endorsement” of his government’s proposition on building the corridor is a “victory” of the peace lobby in both countries. He noted that it is a step in the right direction, adding, “We hope such steps will encourage voice of reasons and tranquility on both sides of the border.”

Pakistan, Sikh
A man waits to cross a portion of track once shared with the Karachi Circular Railway line in Karachi, Pakistan. VOA

Kartarpur Gurdwara is visible on clear days from a viewing stage on the Indian side, where religious devotees gather every day to have a glimpse of it.

Earlier this week, India’s government announced plans to install a high-powered telescope to enable Sikh devotees to view Kartarpur Gurdwara in Pakistan to coincide with the anniversary of Guru Nanak’s birth.

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India and Pakistan’s independence’s from Britain in 1947 divided the Punjab province where Sikhism was born. The two countries have since fought three wars and mutual tensions often hamper pilgrims’ plans in terms of getting visas to visit the shrine. Two of those wars have been over the disputed Kashmir region, which remains at the center of tensions. (VOA)

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Cow Numbers in India Witnesses a Sharp Increase Since 2012

The female cattle (cows) population is 145.12 million, increasing by 18 per cent over the previous census (2012)

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The 18 per cent jump in the Cow numbers in 2019 is sharply higher than the increase in livestock population at 4.6 per cent and increase in bovine population by one per cent. Pixabay

There has been a sharp jump, by 18 per cent, in the Cow Numbers in the country, as per the latest livestock census report released on Wednesday, over the previous enumeration done in 2012.

he NDA government at the Centre and the BJP governments in various states have introduced many schemes for the protection and welfare of cows.

The 18 per cent jump in the number of cows in 2019 is sharply higher than the increase in livestock population at 4.6 per cent and increase in bovine population by one per cent.

The total livestock population in the country increased by 4.6 per cent over the previous census conducted in 2012, to a total of 535.78 million.

The female cattle (cows) population is 145.12 million, increasing by 18 per cent over the previous census (2012).

The 20th Livestock Census report was released by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying on Wednesday.

The total bovine population comprising cattle, buffalo, mithuns and yaks is at 302.79 million in 2019 which shows an increase of about 1 per cent over the previous census.

In addition, the total number of cattle in the country in 2019 is 192.49 million showing an increase of 0.8 per cent over the previous census.

The 20th Livestock Census was conducted in participation with all states and Union Territories. The enumeration was done both in rural and urban areas.

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The 20th Livestock Census report on Cow Numbers was released by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying on Wednesday. Pixabay

Various kinds of animals including cattle, buffaloes, mithuns, yaks, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, ponies, mules, donkeys, camels, dogs, rabbits and elephants, and poultry birds including fowls, ducks, emus, turkeys, quails and other poultry birds possessed by the households, household enterprises and non-household enterprises and institutions have been counted at their site.

The data of more than 27 crore households and non-households have been collected in the 20th Livestock Census to assess and arrive at the livestock and poultry count in the country.

According to the census, there is a decline of 6 per cent in the total indigenous/ non-descript cattle population over the previous census. However, the pace of decline of this cattle population during 2012-2019 is much lesser than as compared to the 2007-12 period, where it was about 9 per cent.

The total buffaloes in the country numbered 109.85 million showing an increase of about 1 per cent over the previous census.

The total milch animals (in-milk and dry) in cows and buffaloes is 125.34 million, an increase of 6 per cent over the previous census.

The total poultry in the country, at 851.81 million in 2019, registered an increase of 16.8 per cent.

The total commercial poultry in the country is 534.74 million in 2019, increasing by 4.5 per cent over the previous census.

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The NDA government at the Centre and the BJP governments in various states have introduced many schemes for Cow Protection and Welfare. Pixabay

The major thrust given to the latest census is the collection of data through tablets computers. This census is a unique attempt as for the first time such a major initiative has been take to digitise household level data through online transmission from the field.

In the whole operations, the state/UT governments engaged more than 80,000 field personnel who are mostly veterinarians and para-veterinarians for the smooth conduct of the exercise.

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The Livestock Census has been conducted in the country periodically since 1919-20 and covers all domesticated animals and their headcounts. So far 19 such censuses have been conducted. (IANS)