The state has announced that it will double the monetary support to cow shelters in the state to approximately Rs 10 crores in order to ensure proper food and shelter to cattle.
There are 31 gaushalas across Jharkhand, but only 19 of them are registered with the government. These gaushalas face a daunting task of feeding rescued cows.
A notification announcing the increase in money for each cow at registered gaushalas, from the present Rs 20 to Rs 50 daily, is likely to be released in a week, while there would be special provisions for grants to gaushalas that set up cow dung gas and organic fertiliser plants.
The Jharkhand Cow Welfare Commission will also have a chairperson soon and will be provided more manpower to disburse funds smoothly in order to strengthen the gaushalas with an objective to make them self-reliant.
Former chief minister Arjun Munda had brought in the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Ordinance in 2005, which was later made an Act. It carried a penalty of Rs 5,000 and imprisonment of up to five years or both for those caught trafficking and slaughtering cows. Over the last five years, the government has confiscated scores of trucks used in trafficking cows to West Bengal and Bangladesh and arrested several traffickers.
“The government is serious towards strictly implementing the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act vis-à-vis rehabilitating the bovines rescued and lodged at the various cow shelters,” said commission registrar Rajni Pushpa Sinku. She said that all the gaushalas which have not registered themselves with the government should do so immediately to avail the grants.
With the law getting stringent, the traffickers have now started herding the cattle to their destination in the guise of farmers.
The Jharkhand Pradeshik Gaushala Manch has taken serious note of this changed trend of traffickers and has asked the government to sensitise the authorities and implement the law.
“Though the government’s approach towards protection of cows has improved, much needs to be done to save them from being smuggled to the abattoirs across India and neighbouring countries,” said the manch president, RK Agarwal.
He said the grants given by the government to run the cow shelters do not even meet 5% of their expenses, still the resolve shown is commendable. The manch members on Monday met the commission authorities and tried to find solutions on speedy and smooth disbursement of the grants.
However, cow protection groups are accused of attacking cattle herders, especially from the minority communities. In one such incident in Latehar on March 17, two Muslim cattle traders allegedly lynched by one such group.