In Uttar Padresh, India, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is set to present a plan to tackle the stray cattle problem. The plan includes providing shelters within 100 days to accommodate up to 50,000 stray cattle, with the goal to increase that to 100,000 in six months, and to use manure for the production of biogas.
Other plans include cow sanctuaries across the state to house cattle in a natural habitat; the construction of at least 50 mega cow shelters; and raising the capacity of existing ones. Additionally, each district magistrate has been tasked with ensuring shelter for at least 10 stray cows per day starting April 15. According to government officials, it is a long-term plan.
Following the sanctuaries and shelters the government will be establishing biogas plants, utilising cow manure to eventually make CNG, and work towards a public private partnership. Cow dung for this will be purchased from farmers. Prime Minister Modi had promised farmers a system where cows that have stopped giving milk would continue to yield income through gobar, and said this would be so lucrative that people would go out of their way to adopt stray cattle. The goal is to address the stray cattle problem in a way that can be “self-sufficient” and “financially viable”.
The government has also asked district magistrates to identify available forest areas with a provision for water bodies under their jurisdictions, which can be destined for cow sanctuaries.
On utilisation of cow dung, Indramani said: “Some units are already working on this, like the one in Kanpur. A gobar gas plant has been established in Varanasi.”
A survey carried out in 2019 put the number of stray cattle in the state at about 1,184,000. According to Indian Express, “The state government claims to have provided shelter to about 930,000 stray cattle over the past five years. In its first tenure, the Adityanth government had introduced a scheme to provide Rs 30 per stray cattle per day to individuals willing to keep them, divert 3% cess from Mandi Parishad, and impose a toll tax on cows, to stop people from abandoning cattle”.
Because of the large scale of the problem and funds required to tackle it, the government has shifted its focus to setting up a financially viable and sustainable model.