Union Minister of State (Home) Hansraj G Ahir has proposed the Environment Ministry to allot 1,000 hectares of forest land in every district of the 16 states to set up cow sanctuaries where cattle slaughter is banned. This proposal came in order to prevent violence due to cattle-smuggling, reported the Indian Express. According to Ahir, the incidents of cow slaughter can be reduced by setting up cow sanctuaries at district levels. He said that violence due to cattle-smuggling in states where slaughter is banned has led to a law-and-order situation. “The Home Ministry faces questions in Parliament on these incidents. I have taken up this matter in the past, too,” said Ahir who is an MP representing Chandrapur in Maharashtra.
To take the proposal forward, Ahir is expected to meet Union Environment and Forests Minister Harsh Vardhan early in September, as per the report by the Indian Express. While telling about the setup cost that would be involved, Ahir said the cost is ‘zero’ and that the fodder can be accumulated from the forest using MGNREGA, which will also provide employment to locals. He further explained, “I have also suggested that gaushalas (cow shelters) across the country be shifted to these sanctuaries. In this way, we will not only stop the sale of non-milching cows to slaughterhouses but also prevent incidents of violence,” reported the Indian Express.
Ahir said that setting up of cows sanctuary could be one of the solutions to curb incidents of cow slaughter and violence by cow vigilantes that has continued despite bans and advisories from the Centre. “Each district has an animal husbandry department which can be advertised and anyone in the district wants to give up their non-milching, old cows can approach this department. At the national level, Forest, Agriculture and Rural development ministry needs to come together,” he said.