Civic body faces challenges to impounding in many areas; residents say it leads to loss of livelihood

The busy metropolis that is Chennai might be expanding all the time, even recently encompassing the suburbs, and going from a 10-zone city to a 15-zone one. But it is also struggling to cope with some old problems, most notably that of stray cattle.

The number of stray cattle impounded by the Chennai Corporation this year so far is 873, an increase compared to the 698 impounded last year. The stray cattle menace is severe in areas such as Royapuram, Kodambakkam, Anna Nagar, Teynampet, Perungudi and Alandur.

Even as Corporation officials point to a spurt in the number of complaints from residents in some areas, the process of tackling the issue is challenging because of various factors.

Motorists of some severely-affected areas are reluctant to request impounding operations, while some residents object to the impounding and others claim it leads to a loss of livelihood that has sustained them for generations.

“Some families in areas such as Ullagaram and Puzhuthivakkam continue to rear a large number of cows even after the area developed. These animals are found on the streets in Alandur zone and attack people. They are a hindrance to traffic flow,” said R. Nandakumar, a resident of Nanganallur.

“The sewer network is often blocked in these areas due to unregulated cattle rearing and disposal of waste,” he added.

This year the civic body impounded 154 heads of cattle in Alandur and 155 heads of cattle in Perungudi. But it has not impounded any animals in Sholinganallur, Tiruvottiyur and Manali. Impounding of cattle in Ambattur, Valasaravakkam and Madhavaram also continues to be poor with a total of 45 animals impounded so far.

“Animals are found blocking roads in Tiruvottiyur. Yet the residents do not support impounding operations. So the officials are unable to do anything,” said M. Dhanaramesh, a councillor in Tiruvottiyur.

At present, the civic body has nine vehicles to impound cattle and take them to Pudupet and Perambur. Owners have to pay a fine of Rs. 1,550 per head for their release.

A total of 42 heads of cattle not claimed by owners have been handed over to the Blue Cross of India this year.

A few months ago, a woman was gored in the stomach by a stray cow in Nanganallur, following which the civic body intensified impounding operations. The city is currently believed to have over 1 lakh heads of cattle.

“Any resident can report nuisance caused by cattle. The Corporation will impound animals within private premises also,” said an official.

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