The congress-led Rajasthan government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, has issued a series of regulations for keeping cows at home in the urban areas in the state. As per the new regulations, only one cow or buffalo is allowed per household. The regulations have been implemented in 213 cities across the state. The cow owners have alleged that the new regulations have made it impossible for the majority of people in urban areas to keep cows.
The new regulations require the cow owner to have at least 100 square yards of additional space at home for keeping the cow or a buffalo. It is mandatory to take a license for the same in exchange for Rs 1,000 annual fees. The cows and buffalos would not be allowed to roam free in the open. In case the administration finds a cow roaming on the roads, the owner will be slapped with a fine of Rs 10,000.
As mentioned above, no one can keep a cow without a license. Every cow must be tagged, and the tag should be placed on the ear of the cow. On the tag, the name, address, and phone number of the owner must be written. Every ten days, the cow owner must take the cow dung out of the city to the dumping ground. If anyone fails to adhere to the regulations, the license will be revoked by the administration.
For the license, the person has to provide details of the proposed place and fulfill requirements for sanitation. The educational, religious, and other institutes also have to pay the fees, but for them, the license fees is half the amount.
The state government has also banned the sale of fodder without a permit within cities. Also, it cannot be sold in public places. If anyone is found selling fodder without a license, he or she will be fined Rs 500. As per a report in Dainik Bhaskar, because of the new regulations, 95 percent of the population in urban areas will not be able to keep cows and buffaloes.
OpIndia reached out to a couple of cow owners living in Rajasthan. Speaking to OpIndia, Anant Singh Kachawaha of Cowsblike said it seems like the main motive of the government is to end the tradition of keeping cows in urban areas. He said, “They have made the regulations in such a way that it will not be possible for the majority of the households in urban areas to keep cows. Those who are keeping cows will have to let go of them.”
Anant has three cows Ganga, Gopi, and recently born Prabha, and one bull Prithu. Anant and his mother (fondly known as India’s first cow mom) take care of the cows. They have made social media accounts on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, where they share regular updates about the four of them. The most interesting aspect is that their cows freely roam inside the house and have a bed dedicated to them where they can rest. Now because of the new regulations, the only option left with them is to let go of one cow and one bull. Anant said, “They are our family members. How can we let go of our family members?”
‘It is an attack on our traditional values’
Anant added that Hindus have a tradition of giving the first roti to the cow. If there are no cows, where would they go? “There is a festival Bach Baras in Rajasthan. The mothers worship calves on that day and wish for the long life of their children. If there are no cows, where would they go to worship?” Anant questioned.
He gave the example of Vrindavan and said, “Imagine if such regulations are imposed in Vrindavan. There will be so much uproar, but no one is paying heed to us here in Rajasthan.” He added that there are no such regulations for those who keep goats and sheep. “Don’t they litter?” he questioned. Anant said the dog owners in the urban areas take their dogs out for walks and make them excrete outside others’ houses. “There is no one to stop them, but when it comes to cows, they have a problem with it. How can anyone justify it?” he said.
He added, “The government is calling cow dung garbage. On the other hand, the central government and other state governments like in UP are coming up with schemes to use cow dung for making products to increase their income. I am unable to understand why the Rajasthan government is hell-bent on passing such regulations that are completely against the ethos of Hinduism.”
Speaking to OpIndia, Sambhav and Sankalp, popular as Baawale Chore, also raised objections over the new regulations by the Rajasthan government.
The twin brothers have one cow, Jhumar, and two calves, Damru and Nandu, who live with them at their house in Rajasthan and regularly post updates about them on Baawale Chore Vlogs on YouTube and other social media platforms.
The duo said as per the regulations, they have to let go of one of the calves, which would be impossible for them. They said that the government has made it illegal to keep cows at home if there are less than 100 square yards of extra space. “In today’s time, how many of them would have so much space at home”, they questioned.
‘It is an indirect way to stop Hindus from keeping cows’
They said, “If any of my neighbors have a problem with cow dung and urine, I cannot keep a cow at my home. If someone complains against me out of grudge, they will cancel my license.” They added that the only justification for such regulations could be that they directly cannot stop Hindus from keeping cows as there will be protests. “They wanted to end the tradition of keeping cows at home but could not directly do so as Hindus would have protested. Hence they came up with these ridiculous regulations,” they added.
Giving the example of CM Yogi-led UP government, they said, “On one hand, Yogi government is giving Rs 900 per month to encourage people to keep cows at homes, and this government is going to charge us Rs 1000 per annum so that we can keep cows. It is my home, those are my cows, why should I pay the government fees to keep them at my home? It is like charging people money to let them keep their parents home. I think the day is not far that this government will come and say we cannot keep parents without paying the fees.”
They added, “The government says we cannot sell the milk if we keep the cow at home. Some cows give 3-liter milk, and some may give 10 liters. How can someone consume so much milk daily at home? Also, there are many farmers who keep cows for additional income. On the one hand, the central government is trying to find more ways to generate employment, this government is hell-bent on killing one of the major sources of employment in the state.”
They said such regulations would end private dairies in urban areas. Only large dairies outside city limits would be able to function. They added, “Majority of the people here do not buy packed milk. A private dairy supplies milk at their doorsteps. Where will they go?”
“We do not have a problem with the government bringing regulations for keeping cows. They can take the cows roaming on roads to Gaushalas and take care of them. But at least allow Gau Palan at home,” they added.
They added the government had banned the sale of fodder in the city without a license. “Can you imagine how many jobs will be lost just because of these regulations?”
Congress justified the regulations
State Cabinet Minister Pratap Singh khachariyawas said in a statement that there was a demand to allow at least one cow in homes in urban areas. “This is the permission to keep one cow. No one will cause trouble for them. It is a big decision for Gau Sewa.” Contrary to what media reports suggest, khachariyawas said people can keep one cow without permission and if they want to keep more than one cow, they would need permission.
Efforts by the government to increase usage of cow dung
Notably, NITI Aayog is working on a roadmap for the commercial use of cow dung to improve the economy. They are exploring possibilities of producing bio-CNG using cow dung as an alternative for petrol. NITI Aayog believes it will help in dealing with the problem of stray animals. UP Government has come up with several schemes to encourage people to keep cows at home. Last year, paint made of cow dung was launched by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. There are many NGOs and start-ups that are making products using cow dung like idols, diyas, seeding pots, and more.