PRAYAGRAJ : The Allahabad High Court has stayed the construction of a cow sanctuary in Muzaffarnagar.
Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan had proposed to build the cow shelter at a cost of Rs 70 crore to tackle the growing menace of stray cattle.
The Muzaffarnagar MP, who was working on the project’s blueprint, had termed it the ‘biggest in UP’.
The stay order was issued following a petition filed by an agri-based firm, DS Agro Developers Private Ltd, which claimed some of the land within the 52-hectare area earmarked for the sanctuary in Megha Chandan village of Purkaji block in Muzaffarnagar, belongs to the company.
The project budget was approved by the state government, and following the court’s stay order, the district administration in Muzaffarnagar is preparing to file a counter affidavit.
Balyan said, “We will fight this matter in court. If anyone is claiming ownership of some portion of the land, it will be investigated. Farmers of Muzaffarnagar are with the government and want to build a cow sanctuary. In the coming days, you will see the construction work of the cow sanctuary.”
Sub divisional magistrate (SDM), Sadar, Parmanand Jha, said, “The DS group had bought the land from some so-called owners who had been giving away some government land on lease. The HC bench of Justice Kshitij Shailendra has issued the stay order and the next date of hearing will be on March 15. We will file a counter affidavit.”
Balyan had announced the cow sanctuary project in the district and had said that once built it would accommodate over 5,000 stray animals.
The sanctuary, he said, will have a modern cremation ground for animals, a biogas plant and a storehouse facility for collecting fodder.
Local farmers had objected and said they were not too keen on handing over their farm land.
Refuting the farmers’ claims, the SDM said, “The entire land belongs to the government. Several bighas of land were given to farmers on lease. And the lease period ended years ago.” — IANS