The cattle drover with his auto (left) promises to free steel city roads of bovine menace. Pictures by Animesh Sengupta
Respite from stray cattle in the middle of busy roads is now just a call away for Jamshedpur commuters.
Tata Steel subsidiary Jusco, which looks after the civic needs of the steel city, has rolled out a two-member mobile team under its Zimmedar Nagrik, Zimmedar Shahar campaign to shoo away cows and buffaloes that are frequently found to be idling away on roads, holding up traffic and inviting accidents.
The “Stray Cattle Removal” squad, which has already got cracking from last week, goes around Jamshedpur in a black-and-yellow auto-rickshaw with a helpline number, 9431111692, splashed on both sides.
Apart from the driver, there’s a ‘cattle drover’ armed with a stick and cellphone, whose job is to promptly respond to calls about stray animals, rush to the spot and shoo away the herd.
The team is on duty from 8am till 8pm.
“We tour all important thoroughfares in Jusco command areas like Straight Mile Road that passes via Dhatkidih, Sakchi and Kasidih, Sakchi-Kalimati Road, Bistupur Main Road and a stretch linking Circuit House with the Sonari airport. We are always alert about phone calls and try to reach spot at the earliest. We don’t hurt the animals but just shoo them away,” said driver Om Prakash Tiwary.
Jusco spokesperson Rajesh Rajan explained that they had undertaken the exercise on a pilot basis and would press more teams into service in near future. “This has been done on a pilot basis. We have hired a private agency that has deputed one team in a three-wheeler. Gradually, the number will go up,” he said.
Rajan also urged the residents to be more responsible and not allow their cattle to loiter on the roads.
“As of now, there is no shelter house for such stray cattle in the city. We have to just drive away the animals from the roads. But we have plans to build a shelter house for them,” he added.
Stray cattle menace has assumed an alarming proportion in Jamshedpur. No wonder, the mobile team receives around 12 such complaints on an average every day.
Cows and buffaloes are almost everywhere, loitering at a leisurely pace, munching on garbage or resting right in the middle of a busy stretch, oblivious of the passing traffic or the harrowed pedestrians. On many occasions, they go after commuters, scaring them away. At night, they raise the chances of mishaps.
“Stray cattle is one of the main reasons behind frequent road mishaps. In most cases, elderly people are victims. It’s great to know that at least, Jusco is doing something about it. However, a more concrete, full-fledged initiative jointly by the district administration and the civic utility provider would have been better,” said Shiv Pujan Singh, president of Singhbhum Kendriya Varishta Nagarik Mancha. This association of senior citizens had taken up the stray cattle issue with the district administration several times.
He further pointed out that there was no provision for a kanji house (a temporary accommodation for stray cattle) in the entire district.
“I think the district administration should construct one at the earliest,” Singh said.
Have you ever been a victim of stray cattle menace?