The increasing number of stray cows and bulls has become a cause of worry for the farmers and residents of the region.In the fields, they damage standing crops and on roads in the cities and towns of the district, they become the cause of many accidents, including fatal ones.
Though, actual figures of these animals are not available but, as per an estimate by the members of the local veterinary office, there are more than 5,000 stray cows and bulls in every district of the state.
Interestingly, though several 'gaushalas' are operated in the district, yet the stray cattle menace remains unsolved despite repeated protests by farmers and residents of the city. "About 99% of the stray cows are of American breed and belong to dairy farmers, who abandoned the cows as they fail to produce milk.
The infertility rate in these cows is much higher than the desi (Indian) cows," said Rupinder Singh, associated with the 'Kuchh Karo' foundation which works for protection of indigenous Indian cows.
"Every year, we catch about 600 stray cows from the streets of Sangrur city and sent them to the city-based gaushala, but the number of the wandering cows continues to increase in the town, we have found that the dairy farmers are behind the increasing number of cows. The abandon the cows and their calves on the roads after they don't produce milk." said Pawan Singh, president of Sangrur Gaushala, adding, "With the government not taking the issue seriously, the Punjab Gaushala Mahasang has decided to hold a protest in Chandigarh on December 29."
Besides damaging the crops, the stray cattle also cause a lot of problems to the commuters and recently two people were killed after their motorcycle hit a bull in Moonak sub-division of the district.
Recently, thousands of farmers from the district gathered outside the deputy commissioner's office here and requested him to solve the issue of stray animals in their respective villages, but the district administration seems helpless.
Moreover, according to the police, the stray cows were the root cause behind the communal tension in the Muslim-dominated Malerkotla town of the district.
"Sometimes, accidents with the stray cows take communal colours, with the number of wandering cows increasing manifold in the past few years. We have written to the district administration and gaushala committees about the problem," said Malerkotla deputy superintendent of police William Jeji.