The Yogi Adityanath government’s efforts to tackle stray animal menace through the much-hyped cow adoption scheme is yet to gain momentum as so far only 10,000 cows have been adopted against the target for adoption of one lakh stray animals, mainly cows.
“The response of the people (to cow adoption scheme) is very poor. Around 10,000 cows have been adopted so far despite government support in form of Rs 900 per month as fodder that is sent directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiary,” a senior official told this reporter on condition of anonymity.
The scheme was launched after widespread protests over the menace of stray cattle across the state. Farmers complained about stray cattle damaging their crops forcing them to locking these stray cattle in school or hospital compounds. Pictures of students studying in the open and hundreds of stray cattle resting in school grounds were flashed in the national and international media.
Facing criticism, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had asked the Gau Sewa Ayog ensure protection of the stray cows. The Gau Sewa Aayog had thrown up its hands in despair, saying it could not ensure maintenance of cows at a paltry sum of Rs 30 per day.
A senior official of Gau Sewa Aayog said that it could emerge as another ‘chara ghotala’ (fodder scam).
“We need to verify the claims of lower level officials about he number of animals. This is a gigantic process and we do not have enough staff,” he said.
With no option left, the Yogi Adityanath government had offered people to adopt cows kept in temporary shelters. The local level officers were asked to go from door to door and count cows which were not of any commercial use now. The government proposed to give the farmers Rs 30 per day (Rs 900 per month) for every cow’s fodder.
As per government figures, there are around four lakh abandoned cattle in temporary shelters across Uttar Pradesh.
Principal Secretary (Animal Husbandry) BL Meena said that people had so far adopted anything between 9,000-10,000 animals from various adoption centres across the state.
“The government is trying to motivate people to adopt animals so that the animals get a permanent shelter,” he said.
Cow has been a big political issue for the Bharatiya Janata Party. Incidents of mob lynching against alleged cow trafficking have been reported from time to time. Muslims in UP have stopped rearing cow and the cattle fairs where farmers used to sell their animals are no longer being held in the state.