Maha govt to set up cattle sheds to protect aged animals

Mumbai: Maharashtra government is planning to set up three cattle shelters to house unproductive and aged animals after a long-pending Bill that widens a ban on cow slaughter in the state got Presidential assent.

The project will be undertaken on a pilot basis and a proposal regarding it has been sent to the Centre, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Minister Eknath Khadse said today.

Khadse conceded that after a blanket ban on slaughter of cows, bullocks and bulls, taking care of the excess numbers of aged and unproductive cattle would have created difficulties
for the state government.

"After the President's assent to the Bill, people from various organisations working for animal welfare, including those run by Jain community, Gau Raksha Samiti and other NGOs,
met me and agreed to take care of unproductive cattle. This has sorted out our problem of sheltering unproductive cattle," he said.

"These organisations are already sheltering cattle across the state. They have even assured us the government will not have to spend funds as they receive donations from private individuals," Khadse told reporters here.

However, post the ban a large number of cattle heads will need to be housed and this has prompted the government to launch the project, he said.

He said the state has applied for grants from Centre and the money will be used to set up three cattle shelters on a pilot basis.

"We can receive a grant of Rs 30 crore for each shelter from the Union Animal Husbandry Department. Each of them will have a capacity to house more than 1,000 cattle."

Meanwhile, to ensure that the ban gets implemented at the ground level, Khadse said police and Animal Husbandry Department will keep a close watch on vehicles ferrying cattle.

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