To protect crops, UP farmers lock stray cows in schools
Aligarh city administration in Uttar Pradesh is currently busy handling the problem of stray cows in rural areas. Apparently, farmers in many villages have been locking up stray cattle in government schools, buildings and primary health centers to prevent cows from destroying their vegetation. According to the protesting farmers, the problem is quite 'alarming'. Here's more on this.
Recently, a group of farmers from Tamotia village locked up some 500 stray cattle at a primary school, which led it to remain shut for two days. On Monday, the district administration rescued them and shifted them to cow-protection shelters or gaushalas. Gorai farmers followed suit, and locked up 500 stray cattle in a primary health-center forcing it to remain shut for a day.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday when the police sent vehicles to shift the animals to a cow shelter in Gorai, some vehicles were stopped and attacked by protesters who, believing a WhatsApp rumor, thought the cows were being taken to be butchered. "Two cases have been filed and four have been arrested. A probe is underway," said senior police officer Ajay Kumar Sahni in Aligarh.
Despite efforts, the problem escalated like wildfire, with farmers from many villages in the state locking up stray cows in government buildings. Similar incidents like the one in Tamotia occurred in Ahraula village of Khair division, where farmers locked cattle in a village school. Other villages that did the same thing were Edalpur in Sadabad division, Rajipur, Datua Nagaria, Saipur, and others.
A Saipur farmer said cows and bulls have destroyed 200 bighas (80.10 acre) of their wheat crop in one month, and so, 200 cattle were locked up inside a primary school. He added that police came and asked them to release the cattle, warning them of strict action. Disappointed over this, the farmer asked, "But how can we let the cows damage our crops."
Another farmer said neither the administration nor state government has taken any action over their complaints. He added that many farmers are falling sick, as they remain awake at night, guarding their farms. Moreover, the children aren't able to attend schools, as they remain closed.
Meanwhile, the district administration said that this was a problem created by the farmers themselves. "Once a cow stops giving milk they leave it on the streets. Over a period, the number has really gone up," said Iglas (Aligarh) SDM Ashok Kumar Sharma. The DM further said that 2,000 cattle have been shifted to 12 gaushalas in the past three days.
"But the gaushalas have a limit and we can't force more cattle there. We are making arrangements for cow-sanctuaries, but it'll take around two months. Till then farmers should cooperate," Sharma informed. However, farmers said "in one month, our Rabi crop will be damaged and destroyed." "If their facilities come up in two months, it will be of no use to us," they added.
Recently, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to make immediate arrangements for proper care of stray cows. He also ordered clearing of grazing grounds in different parts of the state from encroachments. The state government has also allotted Rs. 10 crore to each of the 16 municipal corporations and Rs. 1.6 crore to every district for arranging cow-shelters or gaushalas.