Holy cow! Rs 540 cr ‘collected’ for welfare, but where’s it?

NGO holds demonstration near Mayor’s residence | Seeks information on cow cess collected so far

Holy cow! Rs 540 cr ‘collected’ for welfare, but where’s it?

Members of the Anti-Crime and Animal Protection Association, an NGO, hold a demonstration seeking information regarding the collection of cow cess from different departments by the MC, near the Mayor’s residence on Majitha Road in Amritsar on Sunday. photos: Vishal Kumar

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 18

Seeking information regarding the collection of cow cess from different departments by the Municipal Corporation in the recent past, the Anti-Crime and Animal Protection Association, an NGO, headed by Dr Rohan Mehra held a demonstration near the residence of Mayor Karamjit Singh Rintu on Majitha Road here on Sunday.

The BJP government started cow tax in 2016 for opening around 512 cow shelters in Punjab. Rs15 crore is collected per month in the state in the form of cow cess. From 2017 to 2019, around Rs540 crore was collected in the name of cow cess, but it was not used for the welfare of animals. In Amritsar, the RTO deposited Rs1.5 crore to the MC, while the Excise Department failed to give Rs15 crore to the MC. Six months ago, when the association protested outside Verka's residence, the MC's then health officer and Senior Deputy Mayor had assured that they would provide the information within 50 days. If any department has not deposited the same, they would be asked to deposit it. However, even after 200 days, the MC failed to share the information.  -  Dr Rohan Mehra, NGO head

Dr Mehra said for the last six months, the MC authorities were dilly dallying over the matter. He said earlier, the association held a dharna outside the residence of Cabinet Minister Raj Kumar Verka and he sought 50-days’ time. “It’s been six months now. The MC authorities have failed to provide us with the information which forced us to hold the agitation,” Dr Mehra said. He said a large number of stray animals could be seen on roads of Punjab, but not a penny was being spent for their welfare.

He said the BJP government started cow tax in 2016 for opening around 512 cow shelters in Punjab. He claimed that Rs15 crore is collected per month in the entire state in the form of cow cess. He said from 2017 to 2019, the Punjab Government collected around Rs540 crore in the name of cow cess, but it was not used for the welfare of animals. He said in Amritsar, the RTO Department deposited Rs1.5 crore to the MC, while the Excise Department failed to give Rs15 crore of cow cess to the MC. He said six months ago, when the association protested outside Raj Kumar Verka’s residence, the MC’s then health officer Ajay Kanwar and Senior Deputy Mayor Ram Bakshi had assured that they would pass on the information to the association within 50 days. If any department has not deposited the same, they would be asked to deposit the same. However, even after 200 days, the MC failed to share the information. Therefore, the association decided to hold this protest.

The protest ended after the MC authorities reached the spot and gave it in writing that the entire information on cow cess would be given within five days.

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