Bhopal: Aiming to raise funds for proper care of stray bovines, the Madhya Pradesh government is considering a proposal to levy cow cess in the state that has close to 10 lakh stray cows.
Ahead of Assembly polls last year, the Congress had promised to set up 'gaushalas' (cow shelters) in every gram panchayat in the state. But the plan failed to take off as the state government grappled with funds — in the first phase, it had announced the establishment of one thousand gaushalas.
The Kamal Nath-led government now has decided to impose a cow cess in order to collect the required funds for the establishment of cowsheds.
"We are definitely planning to impose a fresh tax on cow conservation," said Animal Husbandry Minister Lakhan Singh Yadav, adding that fresh census has revealed there are over 10 lakh stray cows in the state and their care requires massive funds.
The Congress government has claimed that the earlier BJP government, in its 15 years of rule, emptied the state coffers and this is why the current dispensation is being forced to levy cow cess to generate funds.
But the BJP has expresses its discontent with the allegations.
BJP MLA Vishwas Sarang accused the Congress of boasting about many things, including on the issue of cow conservation in its election manifesto. "They are discontinuing our schemes in this regard and are now imposing a cow cess. They have nothing to do with conservation of cows," he said.
The Congress government has been persistently cornered by the BJP over the issue of cow conservation as promised in its manifesto.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh last month had tweeted an image of stray cows gathered on the Bhopal-Indore highway, underscoring this was the situation on the thoroughfare with the bovines often dying in road accidents. He had also demanded that the state government immediately shift these animals to a cow sanctuary or a 'gaushala'.