As the Punjab assembly elections appear on the horizon, the death of 12 cows in a month at a shed in Lalru has emerged as an issue that all political parties in the region are keen to be noticed on.
The Mangra village cowshed in Lalru has been witnessed visits of leaders of all political parties and issues of non-availability of green fodder and cold has been raised. The Congress is holding a protest on Thursday against the deaths on Thursday.
Even the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is trying to corner the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on the issue. The SAD, however, claims that `5 crore have been spent on the Mangra village gaushala — inaugurated in May this year — on 35 acres to house 100 cows. At the inauguration, Dera Bassi MLA NK Sharma had boasted a covered shed of size 100x40 feet, along with feeding platform besides, the perimeter is covered with a boundary wall. However on the boundary only mesh is there.
“The government has levied cow cess on residents, yet the animals are dying due to poor management. No green fodder is available at the guashala. SAD claims to have spent `5 crore on the gaushala which does not even have a boundary wall, leading to deaths of animals almost daily,” claimed Congress leader Deepinder Singh Dhillon, who too paid visit last week. He said, “SAD is playing with religious sentiments of people for political gains.”
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Dera Bassi, Sarabjit Kaur, wife of former Punjab finance minister Kanwaljit Singh, who had visited about 10 days back said, “The animals are sick and need medical care which is not being provided. An animal dies daily and is buried in the same land.”
“Such protests are nothing, but a political stunt. The shed was constructed to provide facilities to sick animals that are housed there. The administration is taking care of the welfare of animals,” said NK Sharma, MLA Dera Bassi.
Dera Bassi sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Shiv Kumar said, “This is a cattle welfare shed where sick animals are housed.”
“A doctor visits on regular basis and there is enough fodder. We are constructing a boundary wall,” the subdivisional magistrate added.