The plan is to create an economic value chain for the district-level stray cow shelters, so that they are not only self-sustainable but also provide a practical solution to animal, agricultural and solid waste.
The state in partnership with the petroleum ministry is preparing a blue print, under which a big biofuel plant would be set up in every district in the first phase. These units would be integrated with the stray cattle shelters.
In UP Budget 2019-20, the Adityanath government has allocated nearly Rs 600 crore for setting up and maintaining cow shelters. Besides, a special cess has been imposed on beer and foreign liquor apart from 2% ‘mandi’ cess to create a corpus for cow protection.
Recently, chief minister Yogi Adityanath had said the state government was working with the Centre for augmenting farm income through animal husbandry and to unlock its huge potential. He underlined the government was working on the agenda of ‘waste to wealth’ for the economic viability of cow shelters.
On September 18, Adityanath and union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan had laid the foundation of a biofuel plant at Dhuriapar in the former’s pocket borough of Gorakhpur district. The plant is being set up by public sector Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) at a cost of nearly Rs 1,200 crore.
In fact, the UP Gau Sewa Aayog had also mooted the proposal of helping the public and private sector cow shelters in producing bio-CNG from cow waste for their sustainability.
Currently, a few big private cow shelters in Western UP districts already have bio-gas plants for captive energy utilisation, according to Aayog chairman Prof Shyam Nandan Singh.
The smaller cow shelters would be encouraged to produce bio-products based on cow urine and dung, including manure, floor cleaner, face wash, toothpaste, cream etc. The Aayog has even urged the state government for increasing subsidy to gaushalas, which currently stands at Rs 30 per animal per day.
At present, there are nearly 6,000 public and private cow shelters in UP, housing more than 400,000 cattle heads. More permanent and temporary cow shelters have also been proposed.
While, there are 5,000 temporary cow shelters having 300,000 cattle, there are 92 ‘kanha gaushalas’ run by state municipal bodies, housing nearly 21,000 cattle. Besides, 434 ‘kanji house’ (stray cattle houses) are operational in UP, which have more than 3,600 cattle. This way, the total number of stray cattle housed in government supported cattle shelters stands at nearly 330,000.
Besides, there are 515 privately run cattle shelters in UP, housing 75,000 cattle. These private entities are also eligible for the state financial support to buy cattle fodder.