Mohali MC strays from duty
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Mohali MC strays from duty

They graze and defaecate in community parks and unwittingly dodge vehicles on broken tarmac roads — the stray cattle menace continues to hound the residents of SAS Nagar.

chandigarh Updated: May 15, 2013 23:56 IST
Hillary Victor
Hillary Victor
Hindustan Times

They graze and defaecate in community parks and unwittingly dodge vehicles on broken tarmac roads — the stray cattle menace continues to hound the residents of SAS Nagar.

Figures best describe the failure of the town's municipal corporation (MC) to manage the problem. There are an estimated 1,100 heads of stray cattle in the town. However, officials of SAS Nagar MC have not once met to discuss the problem and its management, though Chandigarh's civic body swung into action mode and caught 300 of the animals after a fatal accident involving stray cattle in April.

Residents, too, have often complained, but MC officials have not dealt with the problem seriously. MS Jaggi, president of the residents' welfare association of Phase 3B1, describes MC as a “helpless organisation” while talking about stray cattle. “The situation has gone from bad to worse. But the civic body has not paid heed to our complaints and problems,” he says.

Accidents involving stray cattle - which are almost invisible on poorly lit roads at night - often go unreported, thus allowing the MC to take it easy.

The problem deteriorates as one drives towards the developing sectors of the town. As these areas are closer to villages where residents rear cattle, the chances of even the domesticated ones creating a nuisance are high.

Congress legislator Balbir Singh Sidhu puts the blame on the civic body. “It has become a defunct body. For a year now, officers did not meet once to control the stray cattle menace. Residents and commuters are a harassed lot.”

When contacted, MC joint commissioner Dilraj Singh promises of action, but does not present a promising plan. “We will meet to discuss it in the next 10 days and will be out with a concrete solution soon,” he says.

Another senior official of the MC blames the rural fringe of the town for the chronic problem. “Residents rearing cattle in villages like Mataur, Shahimajra, Mohali and Jagatpura, after milking the cows in the morning and evening, free the cattle to graze in the open. These animals return home, but while they are out, they end up becoming a traffic bottleneck,” the official says.

There are about 600 such animals being reared in villages.
The official adds that they have only vehicle to tackle the problem. “We have impounded 426 heads of cattle in the past one year,” he says.

Also, the MC releases animals by imposing a meagre fine of Rs 1,000 on the owners, who later become habitual offenders, the official says.

Catching the menace
MC officials claim they impound nearly 10 stray cattle every day. But this had not helped keep a check on the menace because of unrestricted entry of stray cattle from nearby villages. In the absence of an official cow shelter in SAS Nagar, a shed in industrial area used to keep the impounded heads of cattle. The shed can accommodate between 30-35 cattle. The cattle are kept there for a week and if no one turns up to claim the impounded animal, the head of cattle is left in the forest areas of Rupnagar and Kharar.

Stray cattle impounded in a year : 436
Total fine collected in a year : R1.46 lakh
Expenditure on care of caught cattle : R2.73 lakh
Shelter : A makeshift shed in Phase 1 of Industrial Area that can house 35 heads of cattle
Cattle pound : Under construction in Phase 1
Problem areas : Matuar, Shahimajra, Mohali village, Jagatpura and Sohana.
For complaints : Call 0172-5034907

First Published: May 15, 2013 23:52 IST