New Delhi: As incidents of cattle deaths rise in Uttar Pradesh shelters since the past two years, the Adityanath government has decided to give Rs 30 per day to individuals/farmers or organisations that are prepared to take care of stray cattle. This comes to around Rs 900 per month which would go into the beneficiary's account through the direct benefit transfer scheme.
A press statement issued by the chief minister’s office said this after a meeting was held to make the Gau Sewa Aayog more effective.
It has now been decided by the government that farmers who take away stray cattle from state-run shelter houses to their homes for rearing will be given Rs 900 per cattle and if they take 10 cows, then the amount will be Rs 9,000 per month.
The chief minister has directed all the officers concerned to test a system under which individuals or organisations will be given Rs 30 per cattle per day towards fodder for the stray cattle that are not being used commercially. The decision raised questions whether the UP government’s much-touted cow shelter policy has failed.
"Cow shelters should be made self-reliant by finding ways to commercialise cow dung, cow urine, making and selling of compost," Adityanath was quoted as saying by the media.
Meanwhile, the decision to incentivise farmers by giving them Rs 900 a month to take away stray cattle came after cow deaths are being reported everyday across the state despite opening of shelter houses in every district due to overcrowding, lack of fodder, and medical facility.
FAILURE OF ADITYANATH’S COW SHELTER SCHEME?
Ever since Adityanath came to power, protection of cows has been a priority for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led UP government. It should be noted that cow deaths continue to occur despite the fact that the Adityanath government had allocated Rs 447 crore for setting up shelters under the state budget for 2019- 20. The budget includes Rs 247 crore for maintenance of cow shelters in rural areas and Rs 200 crore for the Kanha Gaushala Scheme.
Commenting on the government's recent move to pay farmers to take away cows, Rakesh Singh, a farmer leader and a resident of Bansgaon, Gorakhpur, told Newsclick, "It has become a topic of discussion in the village. The farmers in my area are claiming that the government wants to transfer its own burden on the farmers' shoulders after cow shelter scheme initiated by the Adityanath government has failed miserably.” He said this move would also be unsuccessful. “How will a farmer take care of stray cattle in just Rs 900 a month when the fodder itself costs higher than this amount. A single cow eats 200-250 kg fodder a month along with 50 kg bran. A single bag of bran costs Rs 1,200-1,500, so it will cost around Rs 3,000 for a single cow and the government is providing only Rs 900."
Singh said the chief minister had promised to keep stray cattle at shelter homes and had claimed that it would solve all the problems that farmers were facing. “Why is th government now asking farmers to take the responsibility of cattle,” he said.
Dinesh Yadav, a farmer based in Bundelkhand, also accused the government for taking farmers on a ride. He said if Adityanath was really concerned about cows and had opened shelters, then was the government back-tracking within a year and passing the burden on to farmers. "When inflation is at an all-time high, how can farmers manage in Rs 900 per month. It will take at least Rs 3,000 per cattle," he added.