Monday, 30th October 2017

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Stray cattle still a menace on Patna roads

Civic body began work in February but says it needs more 'cow catchers'

By Shuchismita Chakraborty in Patna
  • Published 7.10.18, 1:07 AM
  • Updated 7.10.18, 1:07 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Stray cattle on Lodhipur Road on Saturday. Picture by Manoj Kumar

The Patna Municipal Corporation has failed to remove stray animals from the road despite chief minister Nitish Kumar asking the civic body to take measures during the inauguration of the door-to-door garbage collection programme on October 2.

On Saturday also, the city roads continued to witness the menace of stray animals, particularly cows, contrary to the wish of Nitish. The Telegraph team found stray animals in the Kurji area, on the Digha-Ashiana road, Mandiri Road, Patna Market, Ashok Rajpath and other places.

In February this year, Nitish had asked officials to prepare a model to take care of stray animals in general and cows in particular in Patna, which could be replicated in other districts. Patna DM Kumar Ravi had ordered the Patna Municipal Corporation to form teams to remove stray cattle from roads following Nitish’s direction and the municipal corporation had even caught some stray cattle and sent to the Sri Krishna Gaushala. However, nothing has been done by the PMC on this front on a regular basis.

“Many times I couldn’t control my vehicle when stray animals suddenly appear before my vehicle. I have faced this situation many times while crossing Ashok Rajpath and Kurji Road. These points have become infamous for the stray cattle menace and the municipal corporation is doing nothing on this,” said Vikas Kumar (35), a businessman, on Ashok Rajpath.

While traffic deputy superintendent of police Jayesh Thakur denied that no accident had taken place in the past two months due to stray animals on any Patna road, he admitted that handling traffic becomes difficult sometimes due to stray cattle on roads.

Deputy municipal commissioner Vishal Anand said the civic body was helpless as it had only two cow catchers.

“Among stray animals, we mainly face problem due to stray cows and right now there are only two cow catchers with PMC, who nab stray cows and send them to Shri Krishna Gaushala but we need four more cow catchers. We cannot do the work effectively with only two people,” he said, adding that PMC will appoint more cow catchers.

Vishal said: “We impose Rs 5,000 fine on cattle owners when they visit the gaushala to claim their cattle. Though the second-time offence of allowing cattle to roam on city roads attract Rs 10,000 fine, we are not collecting this much fine from the repeat offenders yet,” he said.

PMC sources said former mayor Afzal Imam in 2016 had announced the setting up of Kanji House, a short-stay home for stray animals, in all of Patna’s four circles. Vishal, however, said that the plan was not going to be executed. “The Kanji house is supposed to have a veterinarian also but we cannot arrange for the same. The Kanji House plan has been shelved for now,” said Vishal.

The PMC is also in the process of starting the city’s first animal birth control centre.

“We are going to start the centre in the Gardanibgah area on the lines of cities such as Jaipur and Dehradun where dogs would be sterilised and then set free. The centre will come up on around 6,000sqft on a land near Beur Road at a cost of Rs 3.38 crore. There will be operation theatres at the centre. Veterinarians will sterilise the animals under general anaesthesia and after sterilisation, the dogs will be kept in kennels before they are finally released,” said a senior PMC official.