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UP minister’s solution to stray cattle menace: BJP workers will pick up dung, run gaushalas

Uttar Pradesh Minister for Dairy Development Dharmpal Singh says state’s stray cattle issue is 'an opportunity', envisions commercially run cow shelters managed by BJP workers.

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Lucknow: At a time when the “stray cattle menace” has become a political talking point in Uttar Pradesh, the state’s newly appointed Minister for Dairy Development and Livestock Dharmpal Singh has said that while gaushalas (cow shelters) entail a challenge, he sees an opportunity to improve their management with the help of BJP workers.

“BJP workers will pick up the cow dung and they will also drink milk at gaushalas,” the minister said, while articulating his vision of commercially run cow shelters managed by party workers.

Speaking to reporters during a halt while en route to his constituency Aonla (in Bareilly), from where he is a five-time MLA, Singh launched into a detailed speech about gaushalas when asked about the stray cattle issue.

“As of now, cows remain stray and we don’t get their dung, urine, or milk,” he said, going on to explain how gaushalas could profitably gather these resources.

Gaushalas will be run on a commercial purpose. Cows will also be reared here [for] panchgavya (five cow products) — milk, curd, ghee, cow dung, urine,” he said.

The minister also said the government would free land that was earmarked for gaushalas but was currently “under the illegal possession” of mafias.

“After making the land free, they (gaushalas) will be filled with cattle feed and used to house cows. Better arrangements will be made in gaushalas. We have already witnessed improvements, but more needs to be done,” Singh said. “We don’t take it as a challenge but as an opportunity.”

Also Read: Hungry cows, hungry farmers — UP govt policy has led to cattle menace Yogi didn’t see coming

BJP insiders unaware of plan, but say ready to assist

While BJP members said they were unaware of the minister’s plan to involve party workers in running gaushalas and picking up dung, they welcomed the idea.

“Cow breeding is a part of our Constitution. It is a part of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s thoughts. If one has a cow, it can be an economic venture in itself,” UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi told ThePrint.

“The party will work with the government and also take help from other social organisations for the cause,” he added.

Harnessing resources from stray cattle

The proliferation of stray cattle had become a major poll issue during the UP elections earlier this year. Just last week, too, Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav raised the issue in the context of attacks on people by stray bulls.

Last year, the SP announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the kin of people whose death has been attributed to wayward bovines.

The Yogi government has spent about Rs 764 crore from 2017 to 2020 on gaushalas and temporary shelters to accommodate cattle, according to an Article-14 report. In the 2021-22 state budget, Rs 390 crore was given to the gaushalas.

However, so far, it’s been difficult to accommodate stray cattle, whose numbers have swelled since the 2017 crackdown on “illegal” slaughterhouses and cattle smuggling in the state. Many farmers now just release ageing or unproductive cattle since they cannot afford to keep feeding them.

According to government figures from 2019, there were about 11.8 lakh stray cattle in UP, but only about 7,89,000 were lodged in gaushalas. Currently, there are 5,617 gaushalas in the state.

These shelters, according to social workers associated with cattle protection, could become productive if technology was employed to use dung for fuel and urine for medicinal purposes.

Gaushalas can work in a big way if cow dung is processed properly. A scientist in Bhopal is already using it for creating alternative fuel. It can help curb pollution and be used for cremation purposes too, which will reduce the cutting of trees,” Mahesh Saxena of the NGO Noida Lok Manch, which runs a government-aided gaushala in Noida’s Sector 94, told ThePrint.

“It can be used to make agarbatti (incense sticks) and pooja samagri (prayer material) but so far no one is thinking on those lines in UP,” he added.

Saxena, who said he has a degree in chemical engineering, further said that proper processing of cow urine could help in making therapeutic products.

(Edited by Asavari Singh)

Also Read: After AAP’s Punjab win, cow carcass case is CM-to-be Bhagwant Mann’s 1st law & order assignment


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