It's perhaps the best of times for cows in Haryana, thanks to the BJP government of Manohar Lal Khattar which is doing everything to pamper the bovine species, often at the expense of humans.
From setting up of creche for cows to sterilising and rounding up stray bulls, setting up an e-portal for livestock, setting up 'gaushalas', announcing a cattle insurance scheme and even appointing a senior police officer to exclusively monitor smuggling of cows in the state, the government in Haryana is sparing no efforts.
During a special drive launched by the state government last month (June 1 to 15), over 22,000 stray bulls were sterilised against a target of 20,000.
Haryana's Animal Husbandry and Dairy minister O.P. Dhankar does not want any let-up in the drive.
Dhankar has already directed officers of the department to set up cattle creches in all villages in the state by November 1, the date when Haryana celebrates the golden jubilee of its creation.
The BJP government, headed by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar -- a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist --, is already scouting for land in various districts to set up cow sanctuaries and cow shelters.
At least five cow sanctuaries (gau abhyaranyas) are planned for Hisar, Bhiwani, Panipat, Sirsa and Yamunanagar districts, said Bhani Ram Mangla of Haryana Gau Sewa Aayog. These will be replicated in all other districts later. Each sanctuary will be spread in 50 to 200 acres area.
Three teams have been constituted for the protection of cows, which include legislators and officers of municipal corporations, district administration and the police.
"Under the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act 2015, cow slaughter would be punishable with rigorous punishment of between three and 10 years, and a fine of up to Rs 100,000. In case of default in payment of fine, additional imprisonment of up to one year may be imposed," Mangla said.
To curb cow smuggling in the state, the Khattar government has appointed Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Bharti Arora as head of a special wing of the Haryana Police. Her team includes over 300 police officials. A toll-free number has also been launched for this purpose.
A 'Gau-Rakshak Task Force' has also been proposed.
The Khattar government, which had earlier imposed a ban on beef in the state, has amended existing laws to make them tough. Any person attempting to export cows for slaughter would be imprisoned for not less than three years and up to seven years. Fine ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 70,000 would also be imposed.
To encourage rearing of cows, the Khattar government has announced incentives.
"The state government is providing a subsidy of up to 50 per cent to those rearing five cows and up to 25 per cent to those rearing more than five cows," Mangla said.
As per Haryana government statistics, there are about 117,000 stray cows in the state. Stray livestock is being rounded up across Haryana to put them in cow shelters.
The state government is developing an 'e-pashuhaat' web portal to highlight the information about Haryana cows.
A 'Gaushala' will soon be constructed at Motilal Nehru School of Sports in Rai (near Sonipat) "to provide nutritious diet of pure milk of cow, desi ghee, yogurt and butter to students studying there".
Mangla said that a scheme is also being prepared to make the Gaushalas self-reliant by producing bio-gas based electricity and making organic manure and phenyl from cow urine.