Wandering cattle in this Kerala panchayat to cost their owners dear

Unrestrained movement of cattle on roads poses danger to motorists, especially two-wheelers. The photo used here is not from Choornikkara but a different part of Kochi city.   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

Wandering cattle in public places is probably the defining image of India in the West.

But cattle owners who let that happen at Choornikkara, a quaint hamlet near Aluva in Ernakulam district of Kerala, will now have to pay a price, literally.

With wandering cattle causing frequent accidents, especially involving two-wheelers, the Choornikkara panchayat committee has started slapping their owners with a fine. Five cattle were confiscated and were released only on payment of a fine of ₹2,500 each.

The fine, however, is not restricted to cattle owners alone but to owners of any domestic animal found wandering around posing problems to the public.

“The decision to impose fine was taken by the panchayat unanimously, since the menace continued despite issuing notices to dairy farmers and cattle owners not once but thrice. Wandering cattle endangering two-wheelers, especially during nights, is far too serious to be ignored,” said Raji Santhosh, Choornikkara panchayat president.

The panchayat has gone one step ahead and announced a reward of ₹1,000 for anyone helping confiscate such wandering animals. However, the panchayat has been so proactive that no member of the public has so far been able to claim it.

The panchayat still has one cow in its custody, since its owner has not yet paid the fine. So, the matter was referred to the Aluva East police who held a meeting of all stakeholders and gave the owner time till this Saturday to pay the fine and produce the receipt to get his animal released.

“Since there is no provision in the Panchayati Raj Act for imposing fine to check the menace of wandering animals, we have created a separate account for the purpose in a manner to avoid future audit objections. Wandering cattle of owners who declined to pay the fine will be auctioned off, the proceeds from which will also go into the account. So far, the move has not drawn protest from any quarter,” said Ms. Santhosh

Meanwhile, the imposition of fine seems to have done the trick, as the number of wandering cattle has come down significantly.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 8:40:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/wandering-cattle-in-this-kerala-panchayat-to-cost-their-owners-dear/article37694509.ece

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