In a bid to check the menace of stray cattle and ensure its upkeep in Gaushalas/Cattle Pounds, the Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Tuesday approved a sum of Rs 6.65 crore, out of which Rs 4.03 crore would be spent to clear outstanding liabilities of 20 Government Cattle Pounds and Rs 2.62 crore for the running cost for these cattle pounds for the next three months.

The stray cattle population is increasing day by day and has led to crop damage and losses to farmers. In addition, stray cattle lead to road accidents in cities and on highways. There is an immediate need to control this problem. Therefore, the collected cow cess should be used for the upkeep of stray cattle, to keep these stray cattle in Gaushalas/Cattle Pounds, said a release by the Chief Minister’s Office.

According to a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office, Rs 20 crore has been made available by the Local Bodies Department to Rural Development and Panchayats Department for the utilization to clear outstanding liabilities of 20 Government Cattle Pounds and for the running cost for these Cattle Pounds.

Balance funds out of the above-mentioned Rs 20 Crore and the balance funds available with Local Bodies Department, which was collected by Excise Department as cow cess, are proposed to be distributed to the 457 registered Gaushalas run by religious Institutions/NGO’s/Private parties @ Rs 5 lakhs per Gaushala subject to the condition that these Gaushalas will house additional 50 stray cattle before March 31, 2022. These 50 new stray cattle will be in addition to the already existing cattle heads kept at their premises and will be added after getting ear-tagged by Animal Husbandry Department.

“Pertinently, there is a need to make a Policy to hand over these 20 government Cattle Pounds to religious Institutions/NGO’s. The Committee constituted in the Cabinet meeting on December 31, 2021, will put forward its proposal, which would be placed by the Animal Husbandry Department for Cabinet approval. Financial Commissioner, Rural Development & Panchayats Department, Punjab would also be a member of this Committee,” read the release. (ANI)