A day after a stray bull killed a passerby and injured another, Patiala Municipal Corporation gave a rather poor justification saying that it can’t solve the problem of stray cattle on its own as it lacked resources and space to rehabilitate them.
City residents, however, came down heavily on the MC alleging that it lacked the will to solve the problem and never prioritised the issue despite numerous accidents and deaths involving stray cattle.
A local resident Yogesh Aggarwal, revealed that an RTI filed by him revealed that the civic body had spent `60 lakh on cow shelters in 2015 but that could not stop accidents and deaths on road due to stray cattle.
“What is the use of charging cow cess if people die and live in constant fear of the stray cattle menace,” he said.
Justifying its stand, MC Commissioner PS Gill said that all its current facilities created to rehabilitate the stray cattle have been exhausted.
“MC is spending nearly Rs 40 lakh every year to ensure fodder and other facilities to over 300 cattle adjusted in its Gaushala on Sanur road. There is no more space left there to adjust more animals.
He further said that MC funds two private cow shelters but their capacity is not more than 200 animals.
“Our only hope now is the new cow shelter coming up on Samana road which is spread over an area of 25 acres and can adjust over 2,000 stray cattle. The district administration is setting it up and it is likely to start soon,” he added.
However residents are in extreme anger. Last week, residents of Rajpura town protested in front of the DC office against the stray animal menace.
The residents came with over 40 stray animals and the administration had tough time sending them in different cow shelters.
POOR PLANNING TO BLAME
Congress legislator from Patiala rural, Brahm Mohindra, blamed MC’s poor planning for the problem.
He said the civic body has a lot of vacant land both inside the city as well as on the outskirts but it never thought of converting these into gaushalas and reprieve residents of the cattle menace.
“MC’s annual budget has surpassed over Rs 100 crore. Besides, they will soon start the collection of cow cess on a number of items but what is the use if not spent,” he added.
Residents also said that the MC never bothered to carry out a survey as how these cattle reach the urban areas and create trouble here.
Local RTI activist DC Gupta said that the root cause of the problem is the unplanned dairies, inside and around the city. The owners, after milking the cattle, leave them loose so that they can graze outside. Non-milking cattle are also left loose to save on their feed.
“We need to penalise those who are involved in such acts besides creating huge gaushalas, at appropriate locations, which can house thousands of such cattle,” he added
DC ASSURES ACTION SOON
Deputy commissioner Ramvir Singh said that Sunday’s incident, in which a person was killed by a stray bull is unfortunate.
“We are working overtime to start new gaushalas on Samana road that should be started in the next couple of weeks.
“While it will adjust nearly 2,000 animals, efforts are also on to talk with the forest department to use their land for rehabilitation activities so that sheds can be created there,” he added.