A proposal for building one lakh square feet of cow-shelters in the city, which is otherwise starved of open spaces, was approved in the general body meeting of the BMC on Friday. The proposal, moved by BJP corporator Ram Barot, was passed without allowing any discussion on the matter by any political party representatives.
In his proposal, Barot stated that shelters are required to ‘promote cows as pets’ and provide facilities for them and demanded that space for six shelters be reserved in the new development plan.
“The government banned beef in the city. Cows are walking on streets and eating plastic. We can adopt them and an NGO can be entrusted with the responsibility of caring for them,” he said.
He demanded six cow-shelters, one in every district in the city which will take up a total of 6 lakh square feet.
“This is a viable shelter since one cow shelter can accommodate about 10000-12000 cows. There are shelters in Gujarat where cows are cared for, and they give milk,” he said.
BJP corporator Vinod Shelar commended the initiative.
“It’s a good move. The cow is of great significance. Their dung has been proven to have medicinal value. We can utilise the same,” he said.
The proposal will now go to municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta for approval.
Several parties have objected. Samajwadi Party corporator Rais Shaikh stated that despite approaching mayor Snehal Ambekar earlier in the day to demand that other party members be given a fair chance to speak, the proposal was passed without allowing them to speak.
“The session is being conducted in an undemocratic fashion. We had conducted a gherao where we discussed with her that the junior members were not being allowed to voice their opinions. She agreed to allow us to speak but didn’t keep her word. All the eight members in our party wanted to object but were not allowed to speak,” he said.
Commenting on the proposal, he said it indicated cows and buffaloes have become more important than people.
“Emotions and religion cannot dictate what goes into development plan. BJP doesn’t even have a count of cows and the proposal is vague. Besides, reservations of such kind would eat into open spaces which is already scarce,” said Shaikh.
MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande called BJP’s proposal a political gimmick. “What is the point of making cow-shelters when the real need is in the villages especially the drought-hit ones. BJP had announced 500 new cow shelters in the rural parts but haven’t built any. They unnecessarily want to create a controversy,’’ he said.