Shimla: Himachal Pradesh at present 2 Percent of total livestock population are left loose on the streets, becoming one of the major reasons for road accidents across state. According to the 2012 livestock census, state had 32,160 stray cattle on roads while 9,119 cattle were housed in the gaushalas. According to the
2017 livestock census (still ongoing), state has 27,352 on roads while 13,337 are housed in the gaushalas. While 2012 livestock census pegged the total number of cattle in the state at 21 lakh, the current census estimates it at 18 lakh. Officials said the sharp decline in the number is due to a fall in backyard rearing in the state. Himachal has 146 gaushalas across state, managed and run by NGOs and panchayati raj institutions. Plans are afoot to construct three cow Know More sanctuaries at Kotla Barog in Sirmaur district with a capacity to house 200-300 stray cattle, Thana Khalan in Una to house 300-400 cattle as well as one near Badda in Solan district. A cow sanctuary was proposed at Kheri in Sujanpur sub division of Hamirpur district, but plans had to be abandoned because of non availability of land. Officials said construction of cow sanctuary at Kotla Barog has already started and it will be completed by the year end. Issue of stray cattle posing threat to the lives of commuters was raised in the assembly during the recently concluded monsoon session by Nurpur MLA of BJP Rakesh Pathania. Transport minister Govind Singh Thakur had also observed that the stray cattle was one of the reasons for the tragic Nurpur bus accident in April last year that killed 26 children and injured 10 the bus driver tried to swerve the vehicle when he came across a stray bull sitting on one side of road. In July 2017, the Himachal Pradesh high court had directed the state’s chief secretary to ensure release of sufficient funds for the construction of gausadans.