As part of its efforts to tackle the menace of stray cattle, the Himachal Pradesh animal husbandry department has decided not to give medical assistance to unregistered cattle.The department also plans to launch an awareness drive and will write to village panchayats in the state to register all animals present within their areas to enable proper records to be maintained.
In May last, the state cabinet had approved the policy on stray cattle that laid emphasis on construction of 'gosadans' (cowsheds) by roping in various social welfare organisations. The policy also underlined the need to involve village panchayats in registration of cattle.
The animal husbandry department is now gearing up for getting all domesticated animals registered across the state. Additional chief secretary Deepak Sanan said a meeting of department officials held on Monday decided to launch an awareness drive for cattle registration.
"According to the new cattle policy, registration of animals is necessary and we will write to all village panchayats to seek their help in this task. Registration will also help to curb the stray cattle menace in the state", he added.
According to government records, the stray cattle population in the state, estimated at 32,130 in the 2012 livestock census, is much larger than the existing 74 'gosadans,' which have a capacity for only 7,451 cattle, can house.
The legal framework for involving local bodies in tackling the problem of stray cattle had been introduced through provisions under section 11A of the Himachal Pradesh Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2006 for entrusting the task of cattle registration to gram panchayats and empowering them to levy fines on defaulters.
According to various subsections of the Act, cattle owners are responsible for registering their animals with gram panchayats, which will charge a registration fee and also fine owners for allowing cattle to stray. The gram panchayat are also expected to assist in ensuring appropriate identification marks on all cattle and in identifying and taking care of stray cattle.
However, the policy document of the animal husbandry department observed that despite the current provisions they could not be implemented properly. "The cattle registration work has been rendered difficult as gram panchayats have not taken any interest in this matter.
Even so, the work of registering existing cattle has been accomplished to a considerable extent," read the stray cattle policy document that was notified last June.