Karnataka Gov’t Ignored Finance Ministry’s Warning Over Cow Slaughtering Law

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The state government has banned the slaughter of cattle ignoring red flags raised by the Ministry of Finance that it would entail heavy expenditure, documents show.

Karnataka’s Livestock Preservation and Slaughter Prevention Act was enacted early last year, imposing a blanket ban on the slaughter of livestock in the state, requiring farmers to take care of cows even after they become sterile or simply abandon them. The only authorized slaughter is that of terminally ill cattle and buffalo over the age of 13.

Stray cattle have become a major probing problem in Uttar Pradesh, which has a strict law similar to Karnataka.

A goshala is provided in each district. They are in various stages of completion.

In December 2020, the Ministry of Finance asked the government to reconsider its decision to apply the law. “We cannot accept this kind of expense when we are struggling to make ends meet,” he said, according to the Cabinet memo seen by DH.

“In the next two years we expect a contraction in the size of the budget and therefore Cabinet’s decision may be put on hold reconsidering the matter.”

Karnataka will need Rs 5,240.18 crore over four years to implement the law, the finance department has said.

This includes the cost of maintaining cattle at Rs 70 per head of cattle per day, setting up goshalas and compensating for the reduction of 27,250 tons of beef production.

In a response he tabled during the recent legislative session, Livestock Minister Prabhu Chauhan said the process of opening goshalas in each of the 30 districts was underway.

“So far, bhumi puja (for construction to begin) has been carried out in Tumakuru, Chikballapur, Hassan, Chikkamagaluru, Haveri, Koppal, Vijayapura, Belagavi and Kodagu districts,” he said.

The government has released Rs 36-53.50 lakh to each of the 30 districts for setting up goshalas. According to the finance department, Karnataka will need 2,417 goshalas – one for every 200 head of cattle with Rs 50 lakh for basic infrastructure – costing Rs 1,208.50 crore, he said.

The government, in the Cabinet memorandum, justified the new law in that any delay in its implementation would result in the slaughter of 662 cattle per day.

He also said the new law will prevent farmer suicides. Instead of slaughtering “mule” oxen, old cows and diseased cattle, farmers can get “a cheap source of fertilizer, energy, rural produce, health and hygiene” through ” bull energy, cow dung and urine,” the note reads.

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