MP govt plans to roll out new ‘birth to death’ policy for cows | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

MP govt plans to roll out new ‘birth to death’ policy for cows

Feb 22, 2024 08:00 AM IST

Madhya Pradesh to implement new cow policy focusing on dignified life for bovines, including scientific disposal of carcasses and aid for cow shelters.

Bhopal The Madhya Pradesh government is coming up with a new cow policy that looks at providing dignified life for the bovine with regulations from “birth to death”, officials aware of the development said. The policy will replace one that has been in place since 1959.

The state has roughly 1600 cow shelters housing around 270,000 cows.
The state has roughly 1600 cow shelters housing around 270,000 cows.

A senior official of the state’s animal husbandry department said the “scientific” and “respectful” disposal of cows would be mandatory in the state and in case of violation, administration will take action under section 188 of IPC (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant). Currently, non-disposal of cow carcasses is a large-scale problem in the state as most are left abandoned in open spaces by shelter managements.

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The department conducted a study in 2022-23 that showed that roughly 15 of 100 cows in a shelter die every year . These are usually either left abandoned in open spaces or in forests. Now, there are rules on how to cremate the bodies.

The state has roughly 1600 cow shelters housing around 270,000 cows. Most of the animals are either old males that can no longer work, or cows that are no longer productive. The state banned cow slaughter in 2004 with introduction of Madhya Pradesh prohibition of slaughter of cow-progeny (amendment) Bill).

Under the new rules, the department will offer two options to shelters:a “samadhi” or a composite pit; or cremation in an electric crematorium.

“For samadhi cremation, the shelter will need 20 kg salt, cow dung and 20 kg limestone to convert the carcass into manure within six months and it would be a solution to land required for burial of cows. The government would provide financial aid for salt and limestone,” said an officer involved in formulating the new policy who asked not to be named.

The government will also provide one-time financial assistance for setting up an electric crematorium at the division level, like the one currently set up in Indore, he added.

To deal with stray cattle, the officer said, the new policy will provide for the setting up of clusters of cow shelters along the highways and roads in the state. “We are also looking at restarting the cow kanji house (lock-up) at panchayats,” said another officer associated with drafting of the new policy who too asked not to be named.

According to the 2019 animal census, there are 8,54,000 stray cattle in Madhya Pradesh.Ahead of the 2018 elections, the Congress had raised the issue and promised to open cow shelters in over 23,000 gram panchayats. After it came to power in 2020, the BJP-led state government decided to make rearing of non-milching cows a profitable business by announcing the making of cow phenyl with cow urine and used cow dung cake for cremation.

The officials quoted above admitted that stray cattle have been a reason for several accidents and recently a union minister Nitin Gadkari asked the state government to address the stray cow menace on highways.

“We plan to authorise panchayats to lock up these stray cattle in kanji houses and release them to the owner after paying the cost of the cow feed,” he added.

The second officer said that the policy will also provide for monthly government aid of 20 per cow per day to cow shelters every month. As of now, cow shelters get aid either once or twice in a year, as per the availability of budget but now the government will release the money on a monthly basis.

In its budget for 2023-24, the state earmarked 192 crore for the upkeep of 300,000 stray cows living in cow shelters.

On February 25, the state government plans to hold a meeting of all stakeholders with chief minister Mohan Yadav and his cabinet colleagues on the issue. “The draft of the policy will be shared with stakeholders and their feedback will be taken,” animal husbandry principal secretary Gulshan Bamra said.

He added: “Unlike other states, Madhya Pradesh will have a cow policy where administration and planning will be done by the government. Two major issues which will be addressed through the policy are scientific disposal of cows and clearing the stray cattle from the roads.”

In 2020, the then chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government introduced a so-called cow cabinet comprising chief minister and ministers and head of six departments.

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    She is a senior reporter based at Bhopal. She covers higher education, social issues, youth affairs, woman and child development related issues, sports and business & industries.

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