Presence of stray cattle and dogs in streets and roads of the holy city, including GT Road, Amritsar Attari Bye Pass, Airport Road and many others, is responsible for frequent road accidents, both major and minor, making road travel unsafe, especially during the night when the visibility falls.
Even as the quality of highways has improved in last few years, the grave issue of stray cattle and dogs has not been dealt with so far.
"Few years ago, I met with a severe accident when a stray dog came right in front of my speeding bike. As, I tried to save the dog by applying the brakes abruptly, I lost my control over the bike, which skidded off and I got severe arm fracture and was hospitalised for a month,"shares Raminderjit Singh, a city resident. He further laments, "There are several cases of road accidents due to presence of stray animals on roads, but the authorities concerned seemed to be least bothered."
Strangely, stray cattle either sit for a long time on the road or are seen leisurely crossing the roads. Worse is the scenario when traffic is blocked by their presence for a long time. On contrary, stray dogs usually cross the roads running and come in front of any speeding vehicle suddenly. "If a dog is hit by a speeding vehicle, the carcass kept lying on the road for months, which bears a testimony of the authorities' lackadaisical attitude,"shares Kulbir Singh Gill, a shopkeeper at the GT Road.
Besides, Amritsar being a major tourist place of Punjab, tourists, especially foreigners, have been noticed taking pictures and making videos of stray animals roaming on the city roads many a times. Is this a sign of a good tourist destination?
Even though Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has recently announced that Amritsar will be turned into a world class destination in the next two years, the success of his objective will always remain doubtful in the absence of a robust civic body that can take care of such nagging issues.
Municipal commissioner DPS Kharbanda says the MC pays `50, 000 each month to a city's 'gaushala'(cowshed) that catches stray cattle from across the city and keeps them at the gaushala and takes care of the cattle. He further says that he has deployed special staff to catch stray animals.
The municipal authorities must take the issue of stray animals seriously considering the damage inflicted by them on people.
Raminderjit Singh, a city resisden
Stray animals not only throw away safety from roads but also give a bad impression about the city to the tourists.
Prof Naresh Kumar, BBK DAV College
The issue of stray animals must be taken seriously, as many accidents can be prevented if these animals are taken off the road.
Jagdeep Singh, a tourist
I never expected animals roaming freely on the roads of the so-called holy city.
Sandeep Indurkar, a tourist from Mumbai