The Himachal Pradesh government will establish 8 new cow sanctuaries in Chamba, Kangra, and Bilaspur districts at a cost of Rs 11.20 crore by June 2022 to provide shelters to around 9,000 stray cattle and tackle the menace of abandoned animals, State Animal Husbandry Minister Virender Kanwar said on Wednesday.
These large and financially sustainable cow sanctuaries will be established at Khabal, Kanghin, Marhoon, Kudan, Nagrota Bagwan in Kangra district and Manjheer in Chamba district and Gasota in Bilaspur district to rear the stray cattle in natural habitat.
Currently, the state government is protecting 20,252 infirmed cattle in 197 gaushalas and 8 big cow sanctuaries in various parts of the state while there are still 10,253 stray cattle roaming on roads and the government aims to rehabilitate these.
The state government is also planning to ramp up capacity of existing ones to house more cattle in order to end the menace of stray animals in Himachal Pradesh by the end of 2022.
Virender Kanwar said these new institutions are being constructed in areas ranging from 50 kanals to about 400 kanals in some cases depending on land availability and these will be run and managed by local management committees under the chairmanship of respective SDM and Senior Veterinary Officer as Member Secretary.
The state govt is providing Rs 700 per animal for its nurturing to the local management committee from current financial year besides providing 7.5 crore Rs annual grant in aid to make them financially independent. The liquor cess levied on sale of liquor is likely to contribute around 12 crore annually for these cow sanctuaries.
Besides, HP Gau Seva Aayog has also launched a campaign to generate funds through donations from religious minded people and corporate houses for the conservation of the destitute cattle, he added.
The state government is also planning to make the sanctuaries self-sufficient and plans have also been laid out for utilization of cow dung and setting up biogas plants.
Under the plan, commercial use of cow dung would be encouraged. It will be used in generation of power, cooking gas and bio-fertilizer and the power generated by cow dung would be used to illuminate cowsheds to save energy bills.
It is worth mentioning here that there are around 220 gausadans in the state out of which 197 are functional as on 31 March 2022.