New Delhi, Aug. 6: Cows on army trucks, cows chased by tempo, cows at the end of ropes held by triumphant students in torn clothes.
For a day, posh south Delhi turned Wild West for fortune hunters after the high court ordered that the civic authorities must pay Rs 2,000 to any citizen who caught a stray cow on a street.
From college student to soldier, bus driver to middle-class office-goer ' they all seemed to have taken the day off to turn cowboy on Friday. Stick and lasso in hand, they fearlessly chased the horned beasts through the streets and wrestled them down with spirit.
The lone corporation pound for south Delhi at Malviya Nagar, which can hold only 50 cows, nearly witnessed a riot as cattle-catchers from all over converged to deposit their stray cows and bulls.
But the great capital cattle rush lasted only a single day and traffic to the pound was down to a trickle this morning.
The reason: the city fathers would not hand the catchers the cash they wanted but only a receipt.
“Show me the money,” cried Khalid, a B.Sc student at Aurobindo College, who had caught a cow at Malviya Nagar on Friday. He had torn his trousers and lost his slippers in the effort. He now wanted hard cash, not a scrap of paper with something scribbled on it.
“It was two hours of hard work. I chased it so hard. It even stamped on my foot and tore my slippers. I have bruises all over,” Khalid was inconsolable. “Yet all I got was a receipt. There was no money.”
“We have not got the orders about giving money. We are just issuing receipts at the moment,” said the official in charge of the pound, Radhe Krishan Thapliyal.
Why' Red tape, of course.
Civic officials said an advertisement will be published soon explaining that cattle-catchers must prove they are residents of the area where they found the cow. They must produce a voter identity card or a similar document and a note from the local resident welfare association.
“Dairy owners can take advantage and deposit their dry cattle for money. We have to verify that the cattle is actually stray,” Thapliyal said.
It takes more to discourage a soldier, though. On Saturday, an army truck rolled up at the pound with two cows, a bull and a handful of personnel.
“They must have brought it from Delhi cantonment though they said they found it on Rao Tula Ram Marg near Vasant Vihar, which is in the south zone,” Thapliyal said.
A day before, a resident welfare association from South Extension had hired a tempo and chased down about 10 cows with the help of maids and brought them to the pound.