India stray cows election
In this photograph taken on March 27, 2019, a stray cow is stands near traffic on a road in Rewari in Haryana. Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath has decided to tackle this issue. Image Credit: AFP

Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has finally decided to take the bull by its horns.

With just a few months left for the Lok Sabha polls, the state government has decided to deal with the issue of stray cattle in public places so that it does not become a factor in elections.

The government recently sent nodal officers to districts to identify the reasons for the continuance of the problem.

UP chief secretary Durga Shankar Mishra has directed officials to ensure that stray cattle are not seen roaming in public places.

“District magistrates will monitor on a daily basis to see that abandoned cattle do not roam in public places,” he said.

He also asked them to send proposals for the construction of large cow protection centres as per the requirement to keep deserted cattle there.

Director, animal husbandry, Indramani said the feedback received from nodal officers was being compiled and examined to take further action to deal with the stray cattle issue.

“District magistrates of at least 15 districts have told the nodal officers that in their districts there were no stray cattle out as all of them had been caught and protected in the cow protection centres,” he said.

Indramani said the government was building around 300 large cow protection centres with the capacity of housing 300 cattle each and this, he claimed, would help find a durable solution to the problem.

“Around 1.2 million abandoned cattle are already staying in over 6,000 make-shift cow protection centres where all proper arrangements of fodder and water are made available by the government,” he pointed out.

An animal husbandry department official said more stray cattle had been caught and put in the cow protection centres than the total number identified in the last livestock census.

“The 2019 Livestock Census put the number of stray cattle in UP at 1.18 million and against which more than 1.2 million cattle had already been put in cow protection centres but the problem still remains, though not as much as it was earlier,” he said.

“Their number has naturally increased since the last census and we do not know exactly as to how many stray cattle are still out,” he added.

After coming to power in 2017, the BJP government under Yogi Adityanath strictly enforced the ban on cow slaughter and this started resulting in the increasing presence of stray cattle in the state leading to public outcry as the herds of animals were seen destroying standing crops and disrupting movement of traffic on roads.

In December 2018, Yogi Adityanath issued diktats to officials asking them to ensure that all stray cattle were caught and protected comfortably in makeshift cow protection centres. The state-wide drive began immediately and has been continuing ever since.

During the assembly elections in the state last year, the stray cattle emerged as a big issue to the extent that by the middle of the phased voting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, through his public rallies started assuring voters of a permanent solution to the stray cow menace in Uttar Pradesh.

The problem, however, is believed to be intact in most districts, albeit in varying degrees with farmers still complaining about herds of stray cattle destroying their crops.

“Since the Lok Sabha elections are only six-seven months away, the BJP government in the state does not want the stray cattle to be a poll issue again and hence pressuring officials to find a way out,” a senior official disclosed.



SUMMARY: Lucknow, July 2 (IANS) The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has finally decided to take the bull by its horns.

Indo-Asian News Service