That the Haryana chief minister and his ministers think the cow is an “article of faith” and will do everything to protect them is no secret.
Last year, the BJP government in Haryana passed a law making cow slaughter and the sale of beef non-bailable offences, punishable with rigorous imprisonment of five years to 10 years, with the burden of proof of innocence on the accused.
Recently, the Haryana Gau Sewa Aayog had proposed for imposition of ‘gau sewa tax’ of Rs 2 on each bottle of liquor sold in the state and Re 1 per pint.
Earlier in October, the state Health Minister Anil Vij started an online poll, raising the query – should the cow replace the tiger as the national animal?
Meanwhile, cattle vigilantes in villages in Sonipat district keep guard to prevent transport of cattle into the neighbouring state.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, the Haryana ministers are spending a large part of the tax money on cows.
In the last 14 months, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his ministerial colleagues have sanctioned more than Rs 6.25 crore from their discretionary grants to dozens of private gaushalas across the state, reports HT.
Each minister have a discretionary grant of Rs 5 crore per annum that they can spend anywhere. The small kitty hasn't stopped them from allocating lakhs of money to gaushalas.
According to the report, animal husbandry minister Om Prakash Dhankar sanctioned Rs 1.2 crore to cow shelters between November 2014 and December 2015.
"In one instance, a minister, who doled out lakhs of rupees to cow shelters, allocated a meagre sum of Rs 11,000 to a needy resident of Goyala Kalan in Jhajjar for constructing a house in January 2015," reports HT.
But, is this enough?
While MPs pledge lakhs of rupees for gaushalas, the staff complain that they barely see any money reach them.
In February, BJP MP from Sonipat Ramesh Kaushik pledged Rs 5 lakh to Shri Gaushala in Ganaur. However, the staff of cow shelters say they have not seen any money so far.
“We gathered a crowd for several thousands for the MP to make the donation announcement, but no funds have arrived,” Mange Ram Tyagi, the pradhan of a cow shelter told Scroll.in
The state has 400-odd gaushalas, including 247 registered ones, with more than three lakh cows. And, many of them have debts running into lakhs.
Many gaushalas are waiting for the announced donations.
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