About Rs 6.50 crore has been generated for the welfare of cows in Himachal Pradesh by levying a ‘Gau Vansh’ cess on the sale of liquor; the tax has been in place since March 2018, reports The Tribune.
The funds will be utilised by the ‘Gau Sewa Aayog’ for the protection and rehabilitation of some 32,160 stray cattle in the state.
The state government led by the BJP’s Jai Ram Thakur had rolled out the cow protection cess as part of its 2018-19 budget. The cess levies Rs 1 on every bottle of alcohol sold.
The administration also plans to establish three major cow sanctuaries at Kotla Barog in Sirmaur, Thana Khana Khas in Una and Damtal in Kangra. Currently, there are 140 NGO-run Gau Sadans, 40 under the Rural Development Department and one at Khajjian in Nurpur under the control of the Animal Husbandry Department.
One issue with the cow protection programme is that over 50 per cent of the stray cattle roaming in the state are bullocks, which are not the intended target of rehabilitation.
Apart from money collected via the alcohol cess, another Rs 4 crore is likely to be brought in for cow welfare in the state, as 15 per cent of temple offerings at the shrines of Chintpurni, Jwalamukhi, Chamunda and Bajjreshwari in Kangra are to be utilised for the said purpose.
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