'No Funds; Will Release Cattle from Cowsheds': UP Panchayats Warn CM Adityanath

The BJP government in UP set up temporary cowsheds in January 2019 to take care of stray cows. However, funds have dried up since February 2020 onwards.

New Delhi: A number of panchayat chiefs from Banda district in Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand have written to chief minister Adityanath stating that stoppage of funds from the state government for the cowshed project has been resulting in the starvation deaths of animals, according to The Telegraph Online report.

Starting from January 2019, the Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has been running temporary gauvansh ashray asthals to take care of the stray cattle. However, most districts have reported that they have not been receiving any funds for cow welfare since February this year, and others from April 2020.

Against this backdrop, over a dozen panchayat chiefs from Banda district have recently addressed a letter to Adityanath stating that they have no option but to release all cattle from temporary cowsheds under their care so far in case pending funds are not released by December 25.

The letter states that they have been running 43 cowsheds since 2018 when the state government had decided to erect temporary shelters for stray cattle with the promise of funds.

“But we haven’t received any funds since April 2020 and have been running shelters with our own resources in the hope that the money would be released soon,” The Telegraph Online quotes the letter as saying.

The panchayat chiefs say as their term is ending on December 25, they do not want cattle to die due to lack of care, so they want to release them. So far, they have been taking care of 15,000 stary cows housed in 43 sheds.

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Following the end of term on December 25, the present panchayat chiefs will continue only as ‘caretakers’ until new ones are elected after the conclusion of upcoming polls. The election process is scheduled to begin next week.

While the Adityanath government had earmarked Rs 613 crore for cow welfare for the financial year 2019–20, no such allocation has been made for this fiscal. According to the initial promise of the state government in early 2019, every cow in temporary shelters would be given Rs 30 per day.

A senior veterinary department official from Bundelkhand has said that not only has panchayat chiefs written to the state government multiple times even they had sent multiple requests for funds, but to no avail, according to the online portal.

The panchayat chiefs feel that with no money at their disposal after the end of their tenure on December 25, keeping cows inside the temporary shelters would simply mean killing them. They claim that they have been feeding the animals with money from their own pockets since April when funds have stopped.