Lucknow: No post-mortem examination conducted, but the Uttar Pradesh government told the state Assembly on Monday that 9,261 cattle died in various cattle shelters in the state in 2019 due to natural causes.
Animal Husbandry Minister Lakshmir Narayan Chowdhury was replying to a question raised by BSP member Sushma Patel asking how many cattle died in shelters when he said, "In 2019, 9,261 'govansh' (cattle) died in the state.
“As all the deaths were natural, no action was taken against any official,” he continued.
Leader of Opposition and Samajwadi Party member Ram Govind Chowdhury then asked, "How did the government ascertain that the deaths were natural without post-mortem?"
Accepting that no post-mortem was conducted the minister said, "If any matter comes to my notice, I will probe it".
Indicating that cattle at government shelters were being neglected, ruling BJP member Surendra Singh said merely chanting "Bharat Mata ki jai" or "Gau mata ki jai" will not do. "There should be arrangement of persons for taking care of cattle kept in 'Gau Ashray sthal'. Arrangements should not be by mere words but in reality also," he added.
In UP’s budget for 2019-2020, the government had allocated no less than Rs 600 crore for building and maintaining cow shelters, apart from imposing a 2 per cent cess on purchase of beer and Indian Made Foreign Liquor to create a corpus for cow protection.
While, there are 5,000 temporary cow shelters having roughly 300,000 cattle, there are 92 ‘kanha gaushalas’ run by state municipal bodies, housing nearly 21,000 cattle, a news report in December said. Besides, 434 ‘kanji house’ (stray cattle houses) are operational in UP, which have more than 3,600 cattle. In this manner, the total strength of stray cattle living in government supported cattle shelters stands around 330,000, the report added.
Besides, there are 515 privately run cattle shelters operating in UP, having roughly 75,000 cattle. These private entities are also eligible for the state sponsored cattle fodder aid, the report said. The state government had also promised Rs 900 per cow every month for fodder to small farmers taking care of stray cattle.
Another news report in August last year, quoted a caretaker of a cow shelter as saying that it was hard to procure enough nutritious feed for the cattle, despite the government’s provisions. "This shelter needs a 50-kg sack of bran every day to mix with the fodder and make it nutritious - even edible. But we got just two sacks over the last one month," 45-year-old Shankar who takes care of 116 cows said.
“I get just one sack of bran in 15-20 days and they say proper arrangements? There is no proper arrangement (by the government),” he said....