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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Punjab House Committee Findings: Collected in the name of cows, cess parked in treasury, with power corp

Treasury yet to disburse `71 crores collected by the excise dept in 2018-19; PSPCL sitting on another `13 crores.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh |
March 21, 2021 8:28:32 am
House committee cow tax PunjabThe report also states that the committee has found that there is very little coordination between various government departments over the issues of maintenance of cow shelters, management of stray cattle and stray dogs etc. (File Photo)

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha Committee on Government Assurances has noted that crores of rupees collected as cow cess in Punjab have not been disbursed by the treasury to the departments dealing with cow shelters and stray cattle. It has come to fore that Rs 71 crore collected by excise department in 2018-19 had not been distributed nor had approximately Rs 13 crore collected by Punjab State Power Corporation limited (PSPCL) been deposited with the government.

The 50th report of the committee pertaining to the year 2020-2021 was submitted in the House during the recently concluded budget session of the Assembly. Headed by Congress MLA from Amritsar, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, the committee has 13 members from various parties and its role is to examine the assurances made by the government on the floor of the House.

While examining officials of the Local Bodies Department and the Department of Rural development and Panchayats, the committee found that Rs 71 crore collected as cow cess by the state excise department and deposited with the state treasury for the year 2018-19 was still lying with the treasury and had not been distributed to government departments for maintenance of cow shelters.

Out of these Rs 71 crore, Rs 27 crore had been collected from rural areas whereas Rs 44 crore had been collected from urban areas. The cow cess had been imposed from the year 2016-17. Government officials told the committee that an amount of Rs 12.92 crore was still pending with the PSPCL as the same had not yet been deposited with the government.

“The committee takes a serious note of the fact that the power department is not taking this issue seriously. Out of Rs 16 crore collected as cow cess only Rs 6 crore has been deposited. People are dying on the roads because of stray animals and accidents are increasing. A detailed report should be submitted to the committee regarding the collection of the remaining account from the power department,” the report says.

The report also states that the committee has found that there is very little coordination between various government departments over the issues of maintenance of cow shelters, management of stray cattle and stray dogs etc.

“There is no coordination between the various departments and they need to improve this. Animal husbandry department mist sit down with other departments and make a detailed plan and bring it before the committee,” the report states.

The committee also states that the running of cow shelters under PPP mode should be considered seriously. A committee of ministers has already made suggestion in this regard and recommended that if any individual of organisation wants to run even 4-5 cow shelters under PPP mode they could be allowed to do so.

“The committee wants that there should be a resolution of this issue. Being MLAs people ask us why we are unable to do anything regarding stray cattle. We have no reply to their questions. People come to us with their problems. Stray cattle can be seen roaming around in all cities and towns,” the report states.

The committee also dwelt on the issue of menace of stray dogs in the state. It was told by government officials that there are 2,92,000 stray dogs in the state and that an animal birth control programme was being run in 71 municipal committees and 10 corporations.

Noting that there are a lot of cases of dog bites the committee has asked the government officials to explore if a law can be passed by
the state assembly with regard to controlling the menace of the stray dogs.

“Stray dogs are causing lot of damage. In Amritsar people go walking to Golden Temple, Durgiana Temple and Shaheedan Gurdwara at 3 am. Small children and women too go to these places but there is so much terror of stray dogs and people are very afraid,” the committee noted.

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