The under-construction cattle pound with a capacity of sheltering around 2,000 cattle in Ratta Tibba village of the district will not be able to solve the problem of stray cattle in the district as the number of such animals is much larger.
According to some social workers, the number of stray cattle in the district could be around or above 10,000.
“The three major towns of the district are Muktsar, Malout and Gidderbaha besides some small ones like Lambi and Bariwala. The district has about 234 villages and the stray cattle are seen roaming in all the towns and villages.Their number can roughly be estimated around 10,000. In Muktsar town, there are five gaushalas sheltering about 1,500 animals each and we estimate that still the number of stray cattle would be around 3,000 in the town,” said Sham Lal Goyal, district president of the National Consumer Awareness Group, Muktsar.
“About 80% of stray cattle on roads are bulls because most of the people running gaushalas do not like to keep bulls in the gaushalas,” Goyal said.
“Stray cattle moving in herds on roads lead to many accidents. They feed on heaps of garbage dumps and, sometimes, gobble up plastic bags, following which many of them fall sick. Their dung also makes roads and other places dirty, which leads to pollution of environment. Stray cattle also cause a heavy damage to crops of farmers, who in turn drop them near cities,” said Ashok Kumar Chugh, a social worker linked to an animal welfare body.
In Muktsar town, a large number of stray cattle are seen on Kotkapura, Mall Godown and Malout roads. However, they are found moving around in almost all areas of the town. ”There is hardly any street where stray cattle are not seen in towns. They are present in large numbers in villages as well,” said Gursewak Singh, a resident of Muktsar.
“The problem of stray cattle needs to be tackled jointly by the government and charitable societies as it is a religious and social issue. It is a pity that when some animals become unproductive for farmers, they are left on roads to die and kill people in road accidents. Big cattle pounds and a sufficient number of gaushalas may help solve the problem as the number such cattle also continues to grow daily,” said Dinesh Bhardwaj, deputy manager, Malwa Private Power Limited, Gulabewala, Muktsar.
The residents also accuse the municipal committee for increasing number of cattle in the town as garbage dumps, which are not cleared for days together, attract stray cattle which feed on them.
“We have taken 25-acre land on 33-year lease to construct a cattle pound in Ratta Tibba village in Malout tehsil. We hope to complete it soon and there are proper arrangements to keep around 2,000 animals there. When the pound is completed, the problem would be solved to a larger extent as private gaushalas are also working towards solving the problem of stray cattle,” said Kuljeetpal Singh Mahi, additional deputy commissioner, Muktsar.