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Indian State Plans to Tax Citizens to Protect Stray Cows - Reports

© AP Photo / Rajesh Kumar SinghMotorists drive past stray cows roam on a road in Allahabad, India
Motorists drive past stray cows roam on a road in Allahabad, India - Sputnik International
With India’s ruling right-wing alliance patronising vigilante cow-protection groups, the population of stray cows has grown considerably, with farmers alleging that their produce is being eaten up by desolate hungry cattle. To ensure their welfare, the state government in Uttar Pradesh has imposed a new tax on citizens.

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.

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.

READ MORE: Indian Village Celebrates Unique Cow Dung Splashing Ritual 'Gore Habba' (VIDEO)

Policemen gather outside a police station following reports of mob violence at Chingravati village in Bulandhahr, India's northern Uttar Pradesh state, on December 3, 2018 - Sputnik International
Indian Police Launch Investigation Into Mob Violence Triggered by Cow Slaughter
Last week, farmers in Gorai, a village in Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh district, resorted to a unique way of protesting against the growing burden of stray cows. They forcibly locked more than 800 stray cows inside a government school and a primary health centre.

"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.

Social activists say the burden of stray cows has increased in recent years, as dairy farms are abandoning their post-lactation-age bovines to fend for themselves. Earlier, such bovines were sold off to the meat industry but with the right-wing alliance coming to power, beef sales have been been banned. Moreover, those found transporting cows are often beaten up and lynched by cow vigilantes that allegedly enjoy the patronage of the ruling alliance.

"After a cow goes past the age of lactation, it becomes a liability. So most dairies will prefer to unlock the cows from their shelter and let them roam free. These bovines then venture into standing fields for food and destroy crops. One must think twice before intervening in the food habits and the natural cycle of food. The lives of cows are more endangered during the ruling tenure of parties that win elections by emotive issues like cow worship", social scientist and commentator Arvind Murti told Sputnik.

The new tax is being introduced despite the fact that millions of people in the state lack access to basic toilet facilities.

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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