Adityanath govt in UP wants CSR funds to be used to run cow shelters

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Facing flak over stray cattle damaging crops and causing road accidents in Uttar Pradesh, the Adityanath government has issued an order to all district magistrates in the state to explore the option of getting companies to run temporary cow shelters as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations.

This is part of the state government's new policy on how to immediately set up and run temporary cow shelters. The issued order said, "The local bodies can manage and run these temporary cow shelters either at their own level, through self-help groups or with help of companies falling under CSR", according to an Economic Times report.

During a review meeting, CM Adityanath had recently asked districts' senior administration officials to ensure that all stray cows are taken to cow shelters by January 10. 

According to the state government's order, industrialists should be encouraged to establish big biogas or CNG plants using cow dung and cow urine, so that the proposed cow shelters can be made self-sustainable to manage. It further said that the construction of the cow shelters could be done by local bodies through funds allocated for the government’s flagship rural jobs scheme MGNREGS, Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) or MLALAD funds. Each such temporary shelter will house 1,000 cows, it said.

Now under the new policy for financing the construction and running of cow shelters, the state government has also imposed a 2 per cent cess on excise duty, apart from 0.5 per cent cess on state-operated tolls.

Following a ban on illegal cattle trade and abattoirs after the Adityanath government came to power in March 2017, the number of stray cattle has multiplied in the state. These abandoned animals not only cause extensive damage to crops but road accidents as well, which have claimed lives and injured many.

Recently, hundreds of stray cows were locked inside a government school in Aligarh district by irate farmers, who claimed these animals were destroying their crops. 

The Uttar Pradesh government has already allotted Rs 10 crore to each of the 16 municipal corporations to arrange shelter for stray cows, while Rs 12 crore has been given to every district for setting up gaushalas.

The Uttar Pradesh government had earlier sought the help of companies under CSR to build a grand statue of Lord Rama in Ayodhya.

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