Two years after the state government enacted the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act, 2015, making cow slaughter and smuggling punishable with jail up to 10 years, the gaushalas of the state have become overcrowded.
As per sources in gaushalas, the law has managed to put a check on the smuggling and killing of cattle but it has increased problems for the gaushalas as most of them in the state are overcrowded — and the number of stray cattle is still increasing.
“We have a total of 602 cattle against a capacity of 250. But there are only four cows that produce milk and we do not have other sources of income. For salaries of the 22 employees and fodder and medicines for the cattle, we depend on donations,” said Somnath, manager of Shri Krishna Gaushala Ladwa of Kurukshetra district.
Similarly, there are 375 cattle in the Badhawa Rama Gaushala in Damla of Yamunanagar district and it is also overcrowded. The management depends on donations from farmers, who donate wheat fodder, grass, feed and cash for cows.
With an annual budget of Rs 20 crore, the Haryana Gau Sewa Ayog has provided Rs 150 for each cattle to all 437 gaushalas in the state but sources in gaushalas say this is not sufficient to feed the cattle for a year.
Gaushalas have started taking donation (Rs 1,100 per cattle) from farmers who want to leave their cattle after the animals stop producing milk. But most do not pay donations and prefer to leave their cattle on the outskirts.
The government’s move to set up more gaushalas also failed to deal with the problem.
“In December last year, there were only 50 bulls and cows, but now that number has increased over 450. Every month about 50 cattle come to this gau-dham (cow shelter),” said Ishwar Singh, the caretaker of Karnal’s Gaudham and Nandigram.
The ban on slaughter-houses in neighbouring UP has also resulted in an increase in the number of stray cattle in Haryana. “There is a complete check on smuggling of cattle from Haryana to UP but now we face problem of inadequate fodder ,” said Dharmendra Bhardwaj, president of Gau Raksha Dal.
District administration in CM Manohar Lal Khattar’s constituency of Karnal has started tagging stray cattle and deputy commissioner Mandeep Singh Barar has directed officials to complete the task by May 15.