Stray cattle is a common sight in the tricity, yet the civic bodies of Chandigarh and SAS Nagar don’t have any information about their population or the number of accidents occurring due to them. Two right to information (RTI) applications filed by this correspondent revealed this shocking state of affairs, though the cow is endearingly worshipped as a mother in the country.
The first RTI application was filed with the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) on August 4, the reply to which was received on September 10. The reply for the second RTI application, filed with the SAS Nagar MC on August 5, came on September 4.
Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Sector 38, Chandigarh, is still a non-starter after the administration took over its functioning earlier this year and it ceased to be a non-government organisation. A visit to the society revealed that it is doing precious little as yet.
Calls made to the SPCA, People for Animals (PFA), Dhanas and Gopal Gaushala, Industrial Area Phase 1, SAS Nagar, in August for reporting emergency of an injured bull (see pictures) in Phase 6, SAS Nagar, did not fructify into concrete action by these animal welfare bodies.
The bull was helped only by applying an antiseptic ointment and tying a bandage even as it was in need of better care as the wound was very large.
There are good reasons for this limited help provided to the injured bull as the SPCA does not have adequate staff required in response teams while PFA workers never lifted the injured bull. Similarly, Gopal Gaushala did not take away the bull as the RTI reply reveals it already has a head count of around 850 cattle as opposed to the capacity of 600 cattle. A visit to the gaushala proved this situation to be the true state of affairs.
The RTI reply reveals Chandigarh has three gaushalas at Sector 45, Sector 25 and Maloya village, respectively, and two cattle pounds at Industrial Area Phase 1. The civic body also said in reply that it has two cattle catching vehicles along with workers for the purpose.
When contacted, Dr Lovelesh Gupta, joint director, department of animal husbandry and fisheries, Chandigarh said, “The SPCA was taken over by the administration as its internal body was committing irregularities. It will start functioning properly within a week as veterinary doctors and paramedical staff would be recruited. The administration has already released `10 lakh for clearing the previous liabilities of the SPCA.”
He added the People for Animals is working in the area, the argument being that the NGO is aided by the government in terms of resources.
SAS Nagar mayor Kulwant Singh said, “The capacity of Gopal Gaushala is inadequate to handle the stray cattle as it is already stretched. A proposal for setting up a new cow shelter at Balongi is on the cards. The issue of stray cattle is on our priority list and effective steps will be taken.”
However, SAS Nagar MC House meeting took place last week and no proposal related to stray cattle was passed.
It seems the two civic bodies do not know that the Central government conducts a livestock census, and included data on stray cattle and dogs in the 19th livestock census. Both the MCs replied in the negative about the question on the population of stray cattle.
The Chandigarh municipal corporation said the question on the number of accidents due to stray cattle does not pertain to the office of the medical officer of health to which the RTI was routed by the MC itself. The SAS Nagar MC provided phone numbers for gathering information about the same.
No one attended MC’s helpline number 18001370007 while the official who attended Gopal Gaushala number was puzzled as to how he can know about the data on accidents related to stray cattle and that only the police would know about it.