Manoj Chaurasia in Patna
A local engineering institute in Bihar has offered to accept cows as admission-cum-tuition fees from talented students who can't afford to pay in cash.
The offer comes from Vidyadaan Institute of Technology and Management, a prominent engineering college affiliated to Aryabhatta Knowledge University, a state-run university recognised by the University Grants Commission. The engineering college is located in western Bihar’s Buxur district.
Under the scheme, students from farming families may not have to cough up hefty admissions fees anymore. Rather, they can pursue the four-year Bachelor in Technology course just by depositing cows ~ which must be giving milk ~ and calves in instalments.
Each student will have to deposit two milk cows and two calves in the first year, another two of each in the second year, and one cow and a calf in the third year. The institute has reserved 20 seats for such students from farming backgrounds. Quite a few students have been enrolled in the engineering institute under this scheme.
"Farmers basically lack cash, but have cows at home," explained Mr Surya Kumar Singh, a former defence scientist and chairman of the Vidyadaan Society, which runs the engineering institute.
"The milk produced from these cows can bring in enough cash to help the institute meet the cost of the student’s studies," Mr Singh said, adding that producing milk and supplying it in the market would be the sole responsibility of the institute authorities and the students will have no role in it other than depositing the bovines.
On average, one cow gives 2,400 litres of milk in a year ~ at least 10 litres of milk twice a day for eight months, Mr Singh said. Doubling this for a pair of cows, 4,800 litres of milk per year could fetch Rs 96,000 at a price of Rs 20 per litre ~ well below the market rate of Rs 30 per litre.
"So even if Rs 36,000 is spent on the upkeep of the bovine, we will have Rs 60,000 remaining which can be adjusted against the total four-year engineering course fee of Rs 3 lakh,” said Mr Singh, adding that the bovines will not be returned.