Shimla, Nov 22 (IANS) Nearly Rs 8 crore collected as cow cess through the sale of liquor in Himachal Pradesh has helped the state government to so far rehabilitate and shelter 15,177 abandoned and stray cattle.
The BJP government led by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had constituted the Gau Seva Aayog in February 2019 to protect and rehabilitate cows. As per the 2012 census, the state has 32,160 stray cattle.
To raise financial resources, the government said on Sunday, it has been levying Re 1 as Gau Vansh cess on the sale of each liquor bottle since March 2018.
The cess funds are deposited in the account of Gau Seva Aayog. Till date, Rs 7.95 crore has been collected.
The government also gives 15 per cent of the collections of temple trusts to the cess fund. Every year, around Rs 17 crore is thus raised.
The state government had allocated Rs 15.03 crore to the Gau Seva Aayog in 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21.
So far, the Aayog has distributed Rs 1.25 crore among those running cow shelters in Himachal.
The state has also started an initiative to build cow sanctuaries and big shelters on the pattern of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Jharkhand. For this, the Aayog has sanctioned Rs 17.09 crore.
Animal Husbandry Minister Virender Kanwar said that the construction of cow sanctuaries would be completed by February 2021 to shelter 10,000 cows.
The state aims to become free of stray cattle menace by January 2022.