In a bid to tackle the growing problem of cattle menace and provide shelter to abandoned cattle, Punjab government has chalked out a comprehensive plan for making cattle ponds (Gau shalas) in the villages of the state. These cattle ponds are being developed by the Rural Development and Panchayats Department in coordination with the district administrations and the Animal Husbandry Department. The primary objective of developing these cattle ponds is to take care of stray cattle and avoid colossal damage to the standing crops and loss to human lives. These cattle ponds would help sheltering cows and other cattle which have been abandoned by the owners.
Each pond is expected to benefit around 2000 stray cattle. In fact the state government has already released a sum of Rs 11.16 crore for the construction of such ponds in every district. As per the plan, 25 acre panchayat land is to be allotted to the Animal Husbandry Department on lease for 33 years on nominal price in every district. Besides a pond, the area would also have a cattle shed. The areas around ponds would be developed with a green cover with the help of forest department. These ponds are to be looked after by the Cattle Welfare Society, which is to be formed by the Animal Husbandry Department. The society in every district will be headed by the Deputy Commissioner concerned. Besides raising funds from its own resources and donations, the society would also arrange feed, treatment for the infected and diseased cows and their vaccination.
According to Animal Husbandry Minister Gulzar Singh Ranike the development of cattle ponds is part of comprehensive plan which has been chalked out to deal with the growing problem of cattle menace. The Cattle Welfare Societies’ in all 22 districts of the state would be instrumental in setting up these ponds. Already the areas where these ponds are to be developed have been identified in 12 districts. These districts are Moga, Mansa, S.B.S. Nagar, Sangrur, Mohali, Kapurthala, Fathegarh Sahib, Faridkot, Patiala, Amritsar, Barnala and Fazilka.
These ponds according to Ranike are to be made functional within one year after the identification of land. Officials involved in the project mention that under first instalment a grant of Rs. 5 lakh has already been released for each society. There would be regular monitoring of the progress of work from time to time and the government would make an assessment report at the end of the year.
One such cattle pond(pic attached) is being developed in village Dilawarpur in the district SBS Nagar, which would be made operational by April this year. The fencing measuring 3900 Ft. of the Gaushala is being set up in 15 acres of land with an estimated cost of Rs.18.31 lakh.
According to Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Dr Pawan Malhotra the department has already begun the process of identifying land and area for developing these ponds.
“These department will have the have the facility to take care of around 2,000 stray cows that have been abandoned by their owners,” said Dr Malhotra.
He added that the government is providing grant-in-aid from the Village Development and Panchayat Department funds, for the development of infrastructure for these ponds.