Cows, goats and ponies loitering on the roads have become a nuisance
Udhagamandalam: Will it succeed or will it join the list of failed campaigns?
This question relating to the stray animals menace in this vacation destination is now doing the rounds following a drive launched on Friday by the civic administration to round up stray cows, goats, ponies etc.
With complaints regarding the growing number of stray animals mounting, the municipality had recently issued an ultimatum asking the owners of the animals to remove them within a stipulated time.
Following the expiry of the ultimatum, the municipality with the help of the Mavanhallah-based India Project for Animals and Nature (IPAN) has swung into action.
Expressing confidence that the action initiated now would have the desired effect, the Commissioner, Udhagamandalam Municipality Seeni Ajmal Khan told The Hindu here on Saturday that the animals were being returned to the owners only after collecting a fine and taking a declaration to the effect that they would not be allowed to stray henceforth.
The unclaimed animals were being sent to IPAN’s animal shelter in Mavanhallah.
Campaigns to rid the streets of stray animals conducted over the years had not produced the desired results on account of various factors including pleas made by people from various walks of life to deal with the problem in a lenient manner.
“Now all are one in combating the menace,” he said and added that ponies and cows were the main problem.
Meanwhile residents said that the menace caused by stray dogs, ponies and cattle had attained alarming proportions only because timely action had not been taken by the authorities concerned despite numerous representations.
If sincere efforts had been made to deal with the problems as and when they surfaced they could have been kept under control.
They lamented that not many of the roads in this hill station were free of one stray animal or the other.
A view shared by many of the tourists was that the presence of stray animals practically all over the town was one of the major shortcomings here.
Some of them said that since the ponies and sometimes cows occupied considerable space on the footpaths, they were forced to walk on the narrow roads which were congested with vehicles.