Failing to have a clear policy and adequate facilities in place to control the menace of stray cattle and dogs in the city, the municipal corporation of Chandigarh has come under fire. A survey conducted in October last year by the animal husbandry department has shown that the number of stray cattle has gone up to 2,000 as compared 1,400 five years ago. In case of stray dogs, the number has gone up from 5,700 to 7,850 in five years.
The stray cattle have caused a number of accidents in the past few years, especially at night.
Interestingly, the civic body does not have a clear policy and adequate facilities to control the menace. Also, the MC releases animals by imposing a meagre fine of Rs 1,000 on owners, who later become habitual offenders.
The municipal corporation has also failed to put a leash on stray dogs as dog bite cases reported in Chandigarh hit an all-time high last year. In 2012, the number of dog bite cases reported from Chandigarh was 4,486 against 3,785 cases in 2011. Even the number of stray dogs has shot up to 7,828 from 5,700 in the past five years. Worse still, 25 dog bite cases are being reported on a daily basis at the Sector 19 civil dispensary, the only rabies clinic in the city. Despite the worrying situation, the civic body continues to bark up at the wrong tree.
Speaking to HT, medical officer, health, Dr BK Salwan admitted that: "We have only two vehicles to nab stray cattle and 10 employees to deal with the menace. Though we are conducting regular drives and issuing challans, we feel that a clear policy is required to make it a city free of stray cattle."
Advocate Pankaj Chandgothia, who has filed a public interest litigation on the issue, said: "The situation in the city is going from bad to worse and the civic body is even not paying any regard to the court's interim order, which directed the authorities concerned to take all steps to make city roads safe for commuting public."
The MC, in its reply to PIL, has stated that it has issued a public notice on April 14, 2011, to remove cattle from unlicensed places. A similar notice was issued again on February 4, 2012, giving two more months, wherein it was notified that if such animals are found loitering they will become the property of MC, it said, adding that no action has been taken so far.
Chandgothia contended that the fine of Rs 1,000 is too meagre to act as a deterrent and owners have become habitual offenders. Stray cattle enter the city from the surrounding villages and most of the cattle are domesticated milch animals.
Satyavir Singh, incharge of a team set up to catch stray cattle, said: "Sometimes we are helpless as even herd with three animals in a vehicle creates trouble. Also, the MC cattle pound in industrial area has the capacity of 150 animals and in case it is full, animals are taken to gaushalas in Sector 45 or Maloya."
Nominated councillor Maj DS Sandhu (retd), who has raised the issue in the House several times, said though the councillors on the floor of House agree to take concrete steps to tackle the menace, the situation on the ground has remained dismal for the past several years.
Trouble on the rise
Year Stray cattle Stray dogs Pets
2007 1,400 5,713 7,712
2012 2,000 7,828 9,824
Lodge complaint here
Satyavir Singh, in-charge, stray cattle team 9872511265
Dr MS Kamboj, superintendent, slaughter house 9872511260
Vikram Singh, dog catcher 9915711485
Take a cue from Srinagar MC
The municipal corporation of Chandigarh can take a cue from its Srinagar counterpart to tackle the stray dog menace. Under pressure from people and shaken by increasing dog bite cases in Kashmir, the Srinagar municipal corporation started castrating dogs besides performing ovario-hysterectomy operation on bitches in April last year.
While dogs are subjected to castration and anti-rabies immunisation with a post-operative period of two-three days, bitches are subjected to ovario-hysterectomy operation and anti-rabies immunisation with a minimum post-operative period of three days.