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  India   All India  21 Oct 2017  Lynching scare: No takers for ‘dry’ cows

Lynching scare: No takers for ‘dry’ cows

THE ASIAN AGE. | AMITA VERMA
Published : Oct 21, 2017, 2:21 am IST
Updated : Oct 21, 2017, 2:26 am IST

Stray cows are also posing a major traffic hazard, especially, on highways and expressways.

Uttar Pradesh, apparently, is facing an acute problem of plenty when it comes to stray cows.
 Uttar Pradesh, apparently, is facing an acute problem of plenty when it comes to stray cows.

Lucknow: Sadhu Shukla, a farmer in Arjunpur village in Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur district, was a happy man till last week because his paddy crop was exceptionally good.

Today, tears are trickling down his weather-beaten face. Ask him the reason for his sorrow and he blames “gau-mata” for destroying his crop.

“Gai hamari mata hai, magar ab isse nahin koi nata hai (We have broken our relation with the revered cow),” he says angrily.

On further prodding, he explains, “There has been a spurt in number of stray cows in almost all villages and these cattle enter our fields and trample the crops. I was depending on the sale proceeds of my paddy crop for my daughter’s marriage next year but now I will have to take a loan,” he says.

Uttar Pradesh, apparently, is facing an acute problem of plenty when it comes to stray cows. After the Yogi Adityanath government imposed a strict ban on cow slaughter and vigilantism was stepped up by gau rakshaks, farmers have started abandoning their cows after they stop giving milk.

As soon as these cows go “dry” (stop giving milk), their owners abandon them and the hungry cows roam free in the fields, damaging crops.

“Upkeep of each cow entails an expenditure of at least Rs 6000 to 7000 per month and we cannot afford it if it does not give milk,” says Rakesh Singh, a farmer in Achalpur village in Tarabganj in Gonda district.

“Earlier, we had no problem in selling ‘dry’ cows but now no one wants to buy them because of the fear of gau rakshaks. Even transporting cows is a huge problem so we simply leave them to fend for themselves,” says the farmer.

Stray cows are also posing a major traffic hazard, especially, on highways and expressways. A senior traffic official disclosed that “More than 35 accidents on the Lucknow-Agra expressway have taken place in the past two months because of stray cattle.” “Vehicles on expressways move at a high speed and the sudden appearance of cattle forces the driver to apply brakes and the vehicle turns turtle. No one takes responsibility for the stray cows and we do not have adequate manpower to man all highways and expressways,” he says.

Recently, deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma had a narrow escape when a cow suddenly appeared in front of his car on a highway, forcing the driver to swerve the vehicle dangerously.

Even in bigger cities such as Lucknow and Kanpur, stray cattle can be seen causing traffic snarls. Agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi washes his hands off the problem, saying that the matter of stray cows is not related to  his department.

An official in the animal husbandry department also says that their department is not “drafted to deal with the problem”.

A senior BJP leader, on condition of anonymity, admits that the problem is getting bigger by the day and more and more farmers are suffering crop losses due to stray cattle.

“We need to immediately formulate a policy under which stray cows can be kept in shelters,” he says.

A senior Congress leader, says, “This is what happens when governments begin making policies and taking decisions without studying the issues in depth.”

“The decision to ban cow slaughter is impacting the rural economy but no one is ready to speak against the decision because then you will be labelled anti-Hindu, anti-cow and even anti-national,” he says.

Bovine Trouble

  • The decision to ban cow slaughter is adversely impacting the rural economy, but no one is ready to speak against the decision because then you will be labelled anti-Hindu, anti-cow and even anti-national, says a UP Congress leader.
  • Upkeep of each cow entails an expenditure of at least Rs 6000 to Rs 7000 per month and once it stops giving milk, farmers find feeding a “dry” cow a financial burden and prefer abandoning it.
  • More than 35 accidents on the Lucknow-Agra expressway have taken place in the past two months because of stray cattle, according to a traffic police official.
  • Recently, UP deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma had a narrow escape when a cow suddenly appeared in front of his car on a highway, forcing the driver to swerve the vehicle dangerously.
  • Agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi washes his hands off the problem saying that the matter of stray cows is not related to  his department.

Tags: cows, yogi adityanath government
Location: India, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow