Govt to launch first pilot cow sanctuary in UP to tackle stray cattle problem

Feb 07, 2023 10:19 AM IST

The union government has sanctioned ₹63 crore for the project, which will be set up by the national dairy development board

The union government will soon launch a pilot project to run a cow sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar to tackle the growing menace of stray cattle.

UP is among the states with a higher number of abandoned cattle. (Representative file image)
UP is among the states with a higher number of abandoned cattle. (Representative file image)

According to people aware of the details, a 52-hectare land parcel has been allocated by the Uttar Pradesh government for the project which will begin in Purkazi town.

“The union government has sanctioned 63 crore for the project, which will be set up by the national dairy development board. Tenders will be floated soon for the construction work of the sanctuary that will be home to 5,000 animals to begin with,” said a person aware of the details.

In UP and other cities, there has been a demand for finding a solution to the problem of strays damaging crops, attacking humans and becoming a cause of accidents along highways and other peripheral roads.

Also Read: Catch stray cattle, put them in cow shelters: UP chief secretary to officials

Taking note of the accidents triggered by stray cattle, a parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture in its report last year said, “The Committee feels that the issue of stray cattle and animals on National Highways is very serious and often causes fatal road accidents.”

It also said there was a need for some mechanism to monitor the frequency of incidents consider imposing a penalty on cattle and animal rearers for letting out their animals on national highways.

“In Uttar Pradesh alone, the issue evoked a strong reaction from people who suffered losses on account of damaged crops and were injured by stray bovines. Though the state government made attempts to keep the animals, mostly abandoned by their owners, off the roads, the number of such strays is a staggering number.

Taking cognisance of the complaints, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an election rally in Bahraich on March 10 last year had said the government will address the concern,” the functionary quoted above said.

According to details provided by the union ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, UP is among the states with a higher number of abandoned cattle.

The sanctuary that is expected to come up in the next four months is in the Lok Sabha constituency of union minister of state for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Sanjeev Balyan.

When asked about the project, Balyan said the pilot project will be replicated in other states depending on the outcome and learnings from the sanctuary in Muzzafarnagar.

“The state government will offer 30 per animal, per day, there are 500 panchayats in Muzzafarnagar that will give a percentage of the costs and the remaining money will come from industries and civil society members who want to donate. A committee is also being formed to run the sanctuary, which will have district offices and volunteers,” he said.

Apart from food and amenities for health care, the sanctuary will utilise the animal excreta for manufacturing gas and fertilizer; there will be incinerators for disposal of the dead animals.

“The sanctuary can also be used for research on treatments for animals,” the functionary quoted above said.

Though the UP government claims to run 6,222 cow shelters that house 8.55 lakh homeless cattle and is building shelters at all block levels; a BJP leader said the issue continues to remain a challenge for the party.

“A cow sanctuary is the first step; there is a need for a national policy to deal with the problem,” the BJP leader said.

The BJP in its 2019 election manifesto had promised to establish a network of mobile veterinary dispensaries to provide doorstep service to farmers, expand the coverage of immunisation and to launch a national feed and fodder mission to eliminate the shortage of fodder, which compels farmers and animal rearers to abandon their cattle.

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    Smriti covers an intersection of politics and governance. Having spent over a decade in journalism, she combines old fashioned leg work with modern story telling tools.

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