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No space in cow shelters, stray cattle problem may worsen in Delhi

Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi
Jun 21, 2017 11:54 PM IST

In 2002, the Supreme Court ordered authorities to rid Delhi’s streets of cattle and shut all dairies functioning out of urban areas so that abandoned animals do not find their way to Delhi’s busy streets.

One can witness stray cattle blocking roads in different parts of the city, and in many cases even causing accidents.

The problem could worsen further as five major cow shelters, aided by the Delhi government, have started denying admitting any more cattle for the past two months due to space crunch.

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The three corporations of Delhi — North, South and East — catch stray cattle and send it to one of the shelters.

The Ghuman Hera Gramin Gaushala in Najafgarh has maximum space for 2,500 cows, Sri Dabur Hare Krishna Gaushala in Sureda village can accommodate 1,500-2,000 cows, Manav Gau Sadan Rewla Gaushala has space for 600 animals, Sri Krishna cattle shelter in Bawana can shelter 7,800 cows and Gopal Gau Sadan Harwali Guashala can accommodate 2,000 cows.

The North corporation officials said that when Sureda and Harwali village shelters denied admitting cows, they tried taking the animals to one in Bawana. They, too, turned down our request, he said.

In 2002, the Supreme Court ordered authorities to rid Delhi’s streets of cattle and shut all dairies functioning out of urban areas so that abandoned animals do not find their way to Delhi’s busy streets.

An 83-year-old man died after being attacked by a stray cow in northwest Delhi’s Azadpur on Tuesday morning. There have been several other incidents where bikers have met fatal accidents due to cattle suddenly blocking the road. With the current crisis, the problem is only expected to escalate.

Rajendar Singh Sekhawat, general manager of Sri Krishna cattle shelter said, “We are left with no space. We cannot accommodate any further. Besides, we also have to accommodate cattle from neighbouring villages who abandon their bulls. Also, police leaves cattle to us that are caught being transported illegally.”

Shyam Sundar, who is in-charge of Ghuman Hera Gramin Gaushala in Najafgarh said, “The space is an issue in all the shelters. But the bigger problem is that we are not getting sufficient funds. We get Rs20 per cow per day from the government and the same amount is given by corporation which is not enough. The funds too are mostly delayed.”

He said that cows in the shelters are brought in very bad condition as most of them eat plastics or are injured in an accident.

Dabar Hare Krishna Gaushala’s manager Satish said that they too have reached their capacity and cannot take any more cattle. “The dairy owners do not want to bear the cost of cows after they attain their milking age. They are so selfish that they abandon them. It is mostly these cows and bulls that are brought to us,” he added.

As a reason, the number of cattle is fast rising. Around 50% of the cows that are brought to us are ill or injured, he said.

Director of animal husbandry department , Delhi government, Jitendar Kumar Gaur said that the cattle shelter has reached their limits but the need of the hour is focussing more on prevention than cure.

“There is a need to control influx of cattle in Delhi. People leave their cattle roaming on streets and take it during nights so that they do not have to feed. There is a need to put a control over such acts so that the problem is solved at its root.”

The three municipal corporations are ruled by the BJP — a party that has cow protection on top of its agenda. The BJP had also listed opening of new shelters in its manifesto. However, nothing significant has been done in this direction yet.

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