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BJP stares at farmers’ backlash in UP as cattle destroy crops

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What could be more ironic than the fact that while distressed farmers in the state are clamouring for protection from stray cattle, a problem that has assumed menacing proportions with crops worth crores of rupees being lost due to it, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has set aside an unprecedented over Rs 600 crore for the protection and welfare of cows in the State Budget for 2019-20.

It’s a different matter that top government functionaries mouth sympathies for farmers as Lok Sabha elections are round the corner and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has already paid a price in terms of three state governments in the recent polls for ignoring farmers’ issues.
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With the growing trouble among farmers in Uttar Pradesh over stray cattle ruining their harvest, the spectre could result in a possible backlash in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Naturally, there is anxiety in the state’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership.

Old and abandoned cattle that are being set free because they are no longer of any use, have become a terror for people as they destroy crops and fields and add to the agony of already distressed farmers.

As for the government that had vowed to protect the ‘gau mata’ and banned slaughter houses, it appears to have given farmers a short shrift. The budget also proposes Rs 247.60 crore for maintenance and construction of gaushalas in the rural areas.
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Malkhan Chauhan, a small farmer in Darveshpur (Barabanki), some 55 km from here, told IANS how his 3-bigha farm land had been devastated by stray cattle. “I spent a lot of money for seeds and fertilisers, and now the cattle menace have forced me to shell out another Rs 10,000 to fence the field to protect the crop,” said an upset Chauhan.

A frustrated Ranjeet Maurya (40) in neighbouring Kanhaipur who lost his crop to the menace criticised the Yogi Adityanath government for his troubles. “Yogi ordered closure of slaughter houses, now see what’s happening,” he said and added cow vigilantes and Hindu outfits should “adopt ten cows each”. Crops of potato, wheat and mustard have been destroyed by the stray bulls and cows in his village, he said.

Many cattle has also been abandoned due to growing mechanisation of farming. Rizwan Ahmad, a dairy owner in Hariharnagar, said once the cows go dry (stop giving milk) they are thrown out by farmers. “What else do we do of them?” he asked.

Many Muslim milk sellers like Ahmad Ali, a dairy owner in Chinhat, said his community is scared. “We hear stories about members of the community being roughed up for transporting cows,” he said. They can neither keep a large number of animals nor abandon them, he added.

That the cattle menace has taken centre-stage for many farmers can be gauged from the fact that in many parts of the state, angry farmers have locked up cattle in schools, hospitals, community health centres. Their demand: fix this menace. Their threat: face music at the hustings.
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The government has expedited building cattle shelters and ‘gau shaalas’ but the bureaucratic inertia seems to have retarded the pace. Thus the state missed the January 10 deadline set by the Chief Minister Adityanath for district magistrates to shift stray cattle to these shelters. Penal action has also been sought against cattle owners who abandon or lock them up in public properties.

“The chief minister is serious about the issue. Many steps are being taken to tackle the problem”, additional chief secretary (Information) Awanish Kumar Awasthi told IANS.

There are 510 registered cow shelters in the state. According to a 2012 government data, there were around two crore cows in the state. Adityanath has also called for a fresh census and allocated funds for that.

Animal Husbandry Minister S.P. Singh Baghel agrees that there is a problem, but claimed “a solution is on the way”. However, he pointed out that the number of stray cattle was also a reflection of the staggering number that was being slaughtered before the ban.”

Samajwadi Party (SP) spokesman Abdul Hafiz Gandhi said the BJP government has “misplaced priorities” and predicted that farmers’ anger “would cost them dear” in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The state government has also levied a 0.5 per cent tax Cow Protection Cess on eight government departments, including the cash-rich excise department.

Automobile

Car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki is giving heavy discounts on its automobiles: See here

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Maruti Suzuki is India’s largest carmaker. The brand sells the highest number of cars in the Indian market. Adding to the same point is the fact that the top five best selling cars last month were Maruti Suzuki vehicles. This though is no fail proof plan that each month the cars will continue selling no matter what. To this very effect, Maruti Suzuki dealerships are offering discounts on their cars. Each and every model in the Maruti Suzuki Arena dealership gets a discount. For example, the least priced offering from the manufacturer, the Maruti Suzuki Alto gets a cash discount of Rs 15,000 whereas if one were to exchange their old car then an additional Rs 15,000 off will be provided. On the Celerio X, a few dealers are willing to give up to Rs 10,000 cash discount whereas on the Celerio, the offer is for Rs 15,000. However the Rs 15,000 is only available as exchange bonus.

Also Read Maruti Suzuki S-Presso review

On the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso, the cash discount is for Rs 12,000 and on the WagonR, it is for Rs 10,000. It may be noted that the CNG versions of these cars do not come with any discounts. On the base Maruti Suzuki Swift Lxi version and the Lxi (O), customers will get up to Rs 30,000 discount. Those dealers who have the pre-facelift model are willing to add an additional Rs 5,000 as part of the discounts. If one opts for the Vxi and above trims of the new model, then Rs 10,000 cash discount is being given.

On the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, customers stand to get no discounts on the top trims. On the base versions, Rs 5,000 discount is being offered. Same is the case with the Maruti Vitara Brezza but here the higher variants get Rs 10,000 off. There are no discounts on the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. Depending on the model, customers might end up getting exchange bonus varying from Rs 10,000-20,000. Add Rs 5,000 corporate discount to the mix as well.

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