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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

When the urban and rural co-exist

Shailee Dogra , Hindustan Times  SAS Nagar, April 09, 2013
First Published: 20:29 IST(9/4/2013) | Last Updated: 20:32 IST(9/4/2013)

The city that has been touted as the next big thing on the urban landscape of the state by Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is struggling with the menace of increasing stray cattle.

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Herds of cattle punctuate the city roads in the most haphazard manner and motorists, especially two-wheeler riders, have many a time sustained injuries while negotiating these hurdles.

Those commuting at night are the most vulnerable of the lot. Even parks are infested with cattle sprawled all over. Notwithstanding the danger posed by these stray cattle, the municipal corporation seems to have hit a wall when it comes to dealing with them. The problem takes an even acute proportion in the the developing sectors and in areas in the vicinity of villages.

“Villagers in Matuar, Shahimajra, Mohali village, Jagatpura let their milch cattle free to graze after milking them in the mornings and evenings. There are nearly 400 such animals. These cattle then roam the city streets causing traffic snarls and posing threat to commuters,” said an MC official.

Considering the ever-increasing complaints against stray cattle, MC has constituted a cattle-catching team, with a vehicle to transport the catch, under a sanitary inspector. Till date the team has impounded about 426 cattle.

“We are considering to tie up with gaushalas in the nearby areas to keep the impounded cattle. We will be paying for the their fooder. The construction of a cattle pound is also underway and facility will soon become operational,” said AK Sinha, commissioner, SAS Nagar MC.

Present solution
MC officials said they impound cattle whenever a complaint is received. Officials claim a seizure rate of nearly 10 cattle a day, but not much could be achieved owing to unrestricted entry of cattle from the nearby villages.

In the absence of any designated cattle pound in SAS Nagar, a shed in the industrial area is being used to house the impounded cattle. The shed has the capacity to house 30 to 35 cattle. The impounded cattle are kept for seven days and if no claimant turns up they are left in the forest area of Ropar and Kharar. 

Penalty
MC claims to have launched special drives to impound stray cattle to contain the menace. The corporation charges a fine of Rs. 1,000 for every animal impounded. The civic body has earned nearly Rs. 1.46 lakh from the penalty imposed on seized animals in last one year.

SAS Nagar yet to get cattle pound
The bovine menace has been exacerbated to a large extent by the absence of a cattle pound. A big relief is expected with the operationalisation of the proposed facility, being developed at a cost of Rs. 1 crore. However, the completion is nowhere in sight.

“The construction of cattle pound was delayed owing to a ban on sand mining. But, now we are hopeful that construction will resume soon. Once the cattle pound becomes operational the menace would be checked to a large extent,” said MC joint commissioner Dilraj Singh.

Official take
“The corporation is understaffed owing to which the menace could not be reined in. A private company needs to be roped in to impound stray cattle. The MC also needs to buy vehicles for catching the animals. Drives to catch stray animals should be carried out regularly,” said Kuljeet Singh Bedi, former MC councillor.

“We are considering to tie up with gaushalas in the nearby areas to keep the impounded cattle. We will be paying for the their fooder. The construction of a cattle pound is also underway and facility will soon become operational,” said AK Sinha, commissioner, SAS Nagar

MC claim
Stray cattle impounded in last one year: 436
Fine collected in last one year: Rs. 1.46 lakh 
Expenditure on maintaining cattle: Rs. 2.73 lakh
Make-shift shed to house cattle: Phase 1, Industrial Area; capacity 30-35 animals   
Cattle pound: under construction
Problem areas: Matuar, Shahimajra, Mohali village, Jagatpura and Sohana.  
Where to complain: 5034907

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