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Mooing story from Punjab: cow cess on cars, two-wheelers

Motorists in India often have to drive carefully to avoid hitting cows and buffaloes that roam freely on the roads, but in Punjab, they may have to pay a ‘cow cess’ to ensure that the animals are kept safely in ‘gaushalas.’

Anil Joshi, the state’s local bodies minister, has ratified a decision by municipal corporations and councils to introduce a cow cess on nine items including cars and two-wheelers.

The proposal was initially approved in 2014, but has yet to be implemented in more than 150 councils and 10 corporations in Punjab. Joshi, a BJP leader, has asked 33 councils and corporations to issue a public notification regarding the new cess.

Bhatinda and Mohali have already been collecting the cow cess for the last two years. Most of the remaining local bodies have been asked to do so by June 30.

“Our aim is to create more awareness about cattle protection and the menace,” said Joshi. “This money will be used for welfare and feed purchase for cattle.”

The cess is being imposed under the Punjab Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955. Though the state has about 500 cow shelters, thousands of animals still roam on the roads.