New Delhi (Sputnik) — Amid protests and concerns raised by farmers about their crops are being ravaged by stray cattle, the government of the state of Uttar Pradesh in India has decided to levy a new tax on its citizens to provide for the welfare of cows in the state. The Uttar Pradesh cabinet, on the first day of the new year, approved a proposal to levy a 2% 'Cow Welfare Cess', a state government spokesperson told the media.
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The money will be used to construct shelters for the cows in all districts, villages and municipalities. A budget of Rs 1 billion (about 142 million USD) has been allocated to local bodies to construct shelter for cattle, the spokesperson added.
"The cows are destroying crops. We've been demanding cow shelters but no action is being taken by the government" one of the protesting farmers said, as quoted by ANI.
The incident took a violent turn when officials tried to resolve the impasse by transporting the stray cows to shelter homes. However, cow vigilantes attacked the trucks carrying these cows and police had to resort to using electric batons to control the situation.
"We've received complaints that villagers have locked stray cows in a school and a health centre. I have directed the SDM (sub-divisional magistrate) to visit Gorai. Village heads will be given the responsibility to solve the issue. We are in the process of constructing cow shelters in various villages," CB Singh, District Magistrate of Aligarh, told media at the time of the incident.
Meanwhile, local media reports suggest that farmers are being forced to spend sleepless nights watching out for cows that stray into their fields.
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