Stray cattle will have better days ahead of them as the Punjab government has stepped into an overdrive to provide proper food, lodging and living conditions for them all over the state.
Keeping in mind the gravity of the situation and orders in this regard by the Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, himself, the Chief Secretary, Sarvesh Kaushal, has held a high-level meeting to expedite matters. The meeting was attended by senior officers of animal husbandry, rural development and panchayats department, chief architect, taxation and others.
As many as 22 ‘gaushalas’ are supposed to be set up across the state. The experts who attended the state Chief Secretaries meeting decided that “the ambience of the proposed gaushalas must be closer to the natural habitat full of greenery and water”. Nearly 2000 cows are expected to be accommodated in each district level gaushala spread over an area of a whopping 25 acres. The government wishes to acquire this land from the panchayats in all districts.
A pen picture of the ideal gaushala seems to have emerged from the meeting of the officials and it appears that each gaushala will have a fencing, fodder store and suitable arrangement of water and power. It will also have a couple of tubewells and natural ponds. Daily supply of fodder for the cattle will be ensured and apart from the dedicated manpower in each gaushala to look after the cattle, veterinary staff and pharmacists would also be stationed there to cure the ailing animals. In fact the Chief Secretary is learnt to have stressed that there should be free flow of fodder for the cattle in the gaushalas.
The Chief Secretary has also asked the officers to prepare a display model of the gaushala incorporating all essential inputs by April 16 when it would be then presented before a review meeting to be chaired by Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Punjab.
A statement released by Punjab government added that apart from its own efforts the state government will also rely upon charitable institutions and philanthropists to generate additional resources for the the welfare of cows, especially in their uneconomic and unproductive phase when they are abandoned and stray on the roads endangering their own lives and the lives of human beings by causing traffic mishaps.