Cattle shelters on excess land of prisons?
Jails in Uttar Pradesh may have a solution to the stray cattle menace!
Authorities are mulling construction of shelters on the excess land of prison premises to keep stray animals. The divisional commissioner has asked officials to look for possibilities of utilising excess land of prisons for construction of cow shelters and come up with sheds, if possible, before January 31.
“However, these are not sweeping orders, but a proposal to utilise the excess land of jails for the upkeep of stray animals,” said Anil Garg, divisional commissioner.
He said cow shelters were already running on premises of at least 12 prisons, including district jails in Barabanki, Sultanpur, Sitapur, Bareilly, Unnao and Agra and central jails in Varanasi, Fatehgarh, Agra, Bareilly and Naini (Prayagraj) besides modern jail in Lucknow.
“But now, if the shelters are extended to other jails too, it could solve the problem of stray animals. If the experiment is successful, it could be tried elsewhere also,” he said.
However, the department of horticulture and agriculture would be contacted for the cattle’s feed and fodder. Public representatives would also be asked to take care of their feed.
If things go as per plan, jail staff and inmates would also be pressed into service for taking care of these animals. They would be paid stipend and allowances by the government.
On the recommendations of Gau Sewa Ayog authorities in February 2018, most of the 69 prisons in the state showed interest in setting up cow shelters on their premises.
On January 14 this year, the state government has already issued a GO that buildings and land rendered useless in any gram panchayat, area panchayat or local bodies would be used for housing stray animals.
It is pertinent of mention here that UP had proposed 2% cow welfare cess on sale of liquor in the state, for the construction of temporary cow sheds (gaushalas) in all villages, panchayats, municipalities, nagar panchayats and municipal corporations.
However, land equivalent to 17,200 football fields would be required for the abandoned cattle roaming on the streets of Uttar Pradesh.
According to the earlier GO, cowsheds with a capacity of 1,000 animals were supposed to be built in every district. All municipalities and district administration authorities were directed to implement the government order. According to UP government stray cattle census of 2012, the state has around 1.46 crore cows, and 49.07 lakh bulls.