'Future City' was the soubriquet Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal gave to SAS Nagar in 2007, but it now has become a rhetoric keeping in mind the stray cattle menace that affects all parts of the city. Ironically, it is more than one year now that the civic body has not convened a single meeting to discuss is stray cattle menace, which has become a major problem in the city.
Figures best describe the failure of the town's municipal corporation (MC) to manage the problem. There are an estimated 1200 heads of stray cattle in the town. However, officials of SAS Nagar MC have not once met to discuss the problem in past one year.
Local congress MLA, Balbir Singh Sidhu, describes MC as a 'helpless organisation' in connection with its response to tackle the issue. “The situation has gone from bad to worse. But the civic body has not paid heed to complaints and problems of the residents,” he says.
Accidents involving stray cattle - which are almost invisible on poorly lit roads at night - often go unreported, thus allowing the MC to take it easy.
The problem deteriorates as one drives towards the developing sectors of the town. As these areas are closer to villages where residents rear cattle, the chances of even the domesticated ones creating a nuisance are high.
Local industrialist, Vivek Kapoor, puts the blame on the civic body. “It has become a defunct body. For a year now, officers did not meet once to at least discuss the issue. Residents and commuters are a harassed lot.”
However, when contacted, AK Sinha, MC commissioner, SAS Nagar, said the guashala in phase-1 will be completed in two months' time and around 350 stray cattle would be shifted there, he said.
Another senior official of the MC blames the rural fringe of the town for the chronic problem. “Residents rearing cattle in villages like Mataur, Shahimajra, Mohali and Jagatpura, after milking the cows in the morning and evening, leave the cattle to graze in the open. These animals return home, but while they are out, they end up becoming a traffic hazard,” the official says.
Also, the MC releases animals by imposing a meagre fine of Rs 1,000 on the owners, who later become habitual offenders, the official says.
MC officials claim they impound nearly 10 stray cattle every day. But, the residents say they had never seen the civic body conducting a drive to free city roads of stray cattle.
Matuar, Shahimajra, Mohali, Jagatpura and Sohana. For complaints, call 0172-5034907