Mindless of the fact that the NGOs running cow shelters in the city are not in a financial condition to keep stray cattle as they have not been paid money for a year, the MCD has been continuing with its cattle-catching drive.
"We have already impounded 75,500 stray cattle. Most of these animals are from neighboring towns. People in urbanised and rural villages keep the animals and let them graze on the streets. We are trying to get our proposal approved from the MCD House to fine such people," said an MCD official.
Animal lovers in the city have criticized the civic body's move. "Rather them enabling such NGOs, they are not even giving them their dues. How can the MCD confiscate these animals and dump them anywhere without making adequate arrangements. In the Commonwealth Games' name they are turning these Gaushalas into death fields. If money is not provided how will the animals survive? Money should be given to these NGOs immediately. Also, they should open more cow shelters," said Ambika Shukla, trustee, People for Animals.
"The MCD in the first place has allowed illegal dairies to run in the city as a result of which these cows are let loose on the streets. Now, before the Games they want to impound them. They should at least provide the NGOs money to keep them in a safe environment," said Manta Sidhu, founder, Angel Eyes, an animal welfare foundation.
According to the MCD, ahead of the Games they have intensified their actions and have constituted special teams to round up animals from CWG sites. A large number of cattle continue to wander on roads around the city, causing accidents and slowing traffic. The five NGOs that keep the impounded animals have said that there is a shortage of space. "We have requested the Delhi government to provide us more land so that more sheds can be created, but they haven't yet responded," said Mahesh Chand Sharma, president of Gausadan foundation, (federation of Gaushalas).
According to the MCD, it has constituted 13 teams which will round-up stray cattle in six zones. On an average, 300 cattle are picked up daily. "The special teams will be headed by a veterinary official. Also, these teams will take action against illegal dairies," added the official. Removing stray cows from city's roads has been an uphill task for the civic body. The Delhi High Court had given a deadline of August 2008 to round-up all stray cattle. However, it couldn't meet the deadline.