The Uttar Pradesh government Monday suspended the District Magistrate (DM) of Maharajganj, a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), a former SDM, a chief veterinary officer and a veterinary officer for “negligence in cow protection”, an official statement said.
The statement said UP Chief Secretary RK Tiwari said “continuous complaints” were received about negligence in the
upkeep of stray cows at Madhvaliya cow shelter in Nichlaul tehsil, Maharajganj district.
The statement added that it was found that on the pretext of fodder and maintenance of cattle, the number of cattle was deliberately increased on paper to misuse government funds, which also amounts to financial irregularities.
An inquiry found that a cow shelter home, which had claimed to have 2,500 cows, had only 954 cows. It also found that 328 acres of the animal husbandry department meant for the cow shelter was instead leased out to private individuals illegally.
The suspended officers are (DM) Amar Nath Upadhyaya, the then SDM of Nichlaul area, Devendra Kumar, present SDM, Nichlaul, Satyam Mishra, chief veterinary officer, Rajiv Upadhyaya, deputy veterinary officer Dr V K Maurya.The DM was also the chairman of the working committee of the cow shelter concerned and the other officers were its members.
The government has also directed that an FIR be registered in the matter and that further audit be done into “anomalies” in the operations of the cow shelter.
“The District Magistrate is chairman of the working committee of the cow shelter, of which SDM of Nichlaul area and deputy chief veterinary officer were members, while the chief veterinary officer of the district was member-secretary of the committee. Thus, it was the responsibility of these officers to stop such anomalies from happening,” said UP Chief Secretary R K Tiwari. Tiwari added, “The government has top priority towards cow and its progeny and clean administration is also a top priority. Thus, these officers have been suspended with immediate effect after they were found prima-facie guilty in the inquiry.”
Ujjwal Kumar, Municipal Commissioner, Prayagraj, was appointed as new District Magistrate of Maharajganj with immediate effect.
Tiwari said that on paper, 2,500 cows and its progeny were listed at the cow shelter in Madhvakiya area of Nichlaul tehsil in Maharajganj district of eastern Uttar Pradesh. However, during ongoing inspections and later in a detailed inquiry conducted by the Commissioner, administration, Maharajganj, it was found that there were just 954 cows at the cow shelter home.
“There was a huge difference in the numbers but none of the local officials were able to give a clear clarification or explanation in this regard. Serious negligence on the part of local officials was found,” said Tiwari.
He added that despite the shortage in number of cows at the shelter, there was no proper record on expenditure on fodder and other expenses incurred.
The probe also found that the cow shelter was supposed to have possession of 500 acres of the animal husbandry department. However, of this, 328 acres wer leased out to private individuals and firms in an illegal manner. “There is no such provision of lease, nor is the cow shelter committee authorised to make any such transfer” said Chief Secretary Tiwari.