Over three months after the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation adopted a resolution imposing restrictions on rearing cows, goats, and other animals, stray cattle continue to have a free run on the city roads.
While the problem is felt most acutely around the Gandhi Market, the menace continues unchecked in most other parts of the city as well. The Gandhi Market area remains the favoured haunt of the cattle to feed on the lush vegetable waste dumped all around the market.
In February, the corporation after much dithering and discussion introduced a licensing system for rearing cattle and fixed penalties for cattle owners who let out their animals on roads and other public places. A resolution was adopted at the council imposing a ban on rearing pigs and horses in the city. As per the resolution, raising cattle and other domestic animals would be restricted and require licence from the corporation henceforth.
Although the corporation had approved the bylaws for introducing the licensing system in November last year, its implementation was deferred after the council stalled the move initially when some members demanded that the areas where the ban would be imposed be clearly specified. Subsequently, a resolution specifying areas where the ban would be applicable was also listed.
But so far the resolution has not been enforced. The modalities of issuing the licences are yet to be worked out. “There has been no action so far and the number of cattle roaming on public roads only seems to be increasing. Officials only seem to be keen on passing resolutions on the subjects introducing restrictions on rearing cattle and checking stray cattle menace. Already there are enough provisions in the Corporation Act for the civic body to act. Sustained action by the Corporation in association with police just for a week could help check the menace to a large extent,” says G. Sathyamurthy, DMK councillor of ward 18, who has been consistently voicing his concern over the issue.
While stray cattle could be found in almost all parts of the city right through the day, places such as the Gandhi Market witness a convergence of the animals at specific hours. “Dozens of cows and goats converge at the Gandhi Market at around 8 p.m. to rummage through the vegetable waste dumped on the Thanjavur Road and the Fish Market, causing traffic congestion,” says Mr. Sathyamurthy.
Elected representatives say that the cattle are reared mostly in a handful of areas and the owners let out the animals in the mornings and late evenings after milking them. Field staffs of the corporation are apprehensive over impounding the animals fearing reprisal from the owners. For this reason, any action against stray cattle would be successful only if they are carried out with police help, they say. A few years ago, a herd of animals impounded and kept on the corporation office premises was taken away nonchalantly by the owner without any action from the civic body, it was pointed out.
Corporation Commissioner V.P. Thandapani said the resolution passed in the council would be enforced once the gazette notification was issued by the government.
The corporation was planning to get cattle sheds ready at four places in the city to accommodate the impounded cattle. “We have to get a vehicle for impounding and transporting the animals. Caretakers will have to be appointed at the cattle sheds. We expect to start enforcing the regulations in another 30 days,” he said.