Himachal CM Sukhu prioritises stray cattle menace

Shimla: In a bid to resolve the stray cattle menace in the state, the Himachal Pradesh government has decided to enable citizens to call on CM helpline no 1100 and report about the abandoned animals.

Even as the state government initiative to set up ‘Gau Sadans’, ‘Gaushalas’ and cow sanctuaries have already proved significant in reducing the number of abandoned animals on the streets, Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu wants to take it a step further.

“We will develop an app wherein the photos of such animals seen anywhere can be uploaded and sent to the Animal Husbandry department for further action. The CM helpline will be integrated with the concerned department” the chief minister said here on Tuesday.

Leading from the front, the chief minister said his priority to solve the stray cattle problem is as serious as he had taken a wider initiative on serving the helpless – orphans, destitute and needy in the shelter homes.

“I want to give a new meaning to the word –Service to humanity. The next on my list is the welfare of stray cattle. All stray cattle should not be on the streets, shivering in the icy cold winters, or injured or mowed down by vehicles/trucks on the roads. It’s painful to see such instances in the state” Sukhu lamented.

At a meeting of the officers, Sukhu gave clear directions to tackle this problem. He said accountability of the officers will be fixed to initiate measures to curb the menace of stray cattle in a time-bound manner and respond to the complaints immediately.

On receiving a complaint on CM helpline-1100 the information will be shared with the vet officers of the concerned block, who will be responsible to make proper arrangements for providing shelter and fodder to these animals, said the spokesperson of the state government.

“Stray animal menace is also one of the reasons behind road accidents and also making farmers indifferent towards farming in Himachal Pradesh. Providing shelter to the destitute animals will pave a way to resolve the menace created by stray animals besides addressing the problems of the farmers,” the chief minister said.

The animal husbandry department has to collaborate with the forest department in identifying suitable land for grazing adjacent to the present ‘Gau Sadans’ and cow sanctuaries, thereby ensuring sufficient fodder and water for these animals.

After taking over as the chief minister, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu’s government worked on a roadmap for the welfare of destitute women and orphan children staying in different shelter homes and now he has come forward for the service of abandoned animals.

Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Anirudh Singh has also been part of initiatives on establishing ‘Gau Sadans’ in his constituency even as agriculture and animal husbandry minister Chander Kumar has already hinted at taking penal action against those abandoning their domestic animals.

According to the 20th animal census, the number of stray animals in the state was 36,311, out of which 20,203 cattle have been provided shelter in various ‘Gau Sadans’ and still 9117 such animals are roaming freely on the roads creating a threat to the commuters.

To provide shelter to these animals, there is a need to strengthen the infrastructure of the existing ‘Gaushalas’.

The chief minister has also asked the animal husbandry department to construct night shelters for the animals with sufficient staff to look after them.

He has also directed the officers of the department to come up with a blueprint regarding strengthening of infrastructure for such deserted cattle within 10 days.

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