Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said on Saturday that his government will not allow any new slaughterhouses in the state and will cancel earlier licences, PTI reported.

“We will not allow opening slaughterhouses in the state,” he said. “Those issued by previous governments will be cancelled.”

In 2016, the then Congress government in the state had permitted the establishment of a slaughterhouse in Haridwar’s Manglore, reported the Hindustan Times. “The district magistrate has been instructed to cancel the order in question,” said Rawat.

The ban will be effected under provisions of the Uttarakhand Protection of Cow Progeny Act. “Similarly, shelter houses would be set up across the state before the commencement of Mahakumbh Fair in Haridwar in 2021 to provide shelters to stray cows,” Rawat said, adding that rearing bovines can strengthen the finances of farmers.

The chief minister said that Uttarakhand was the first state to create special police squads for cow protection, in Dehradun, Haridwar, and Udham Singh Nagar districts.

Rawat was speaking in Dehradun at a function where a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Uttarakhand Livestock Development Board and the United States’ Inguran Sorting Technologies LLP. The MoU will aim to increase the number of cows through the production of sex-sorted semen, which would lead to an increase in milk production. For this very purpose, a laboratory will be set up in Rishikesh.

Last week, the state had announced that it will soon issue identity cards to gau rakshaks (cow protectors) and they will be known as gau sanrakshaks (cow guardians). “All gau rakshaks in the state will now be known as gau sanrakshaks [guardians of cows],” said NS Rawat, chairperson of Gau Sewa Ayog. “Similarly, all gau rakshaks will now be issued identity cards.”