Stray cattle a menace on several roads

Stray cattle roaming freely on several streets in busy areas pose a grave threat to motorists.   | Photo Credit: T. Singaravelou

The problem of stray cattle is nothing new to road users in Puducherry, but in the last few months it has reached alarming proportions.

Herds of stray cows and buffaloes roam freely on the thoroughfares and interior roads causing hindrance to traffic. Many people riding two-wheelers have been injured after the vehicles skidded because of cow dung on the road. At night, vehicle users cannot spot the vehicles, especially on streets with poor illumination. “Our roads are congested. Stray cattle add to the traffic woes. Sometime ago, the civic bodies used to continuously impound roaming animals and put them in a shelter. The menace is more serious than one imagines. Free-roaming cattle is a threat to two-wheeler riders as animals run on the middle of the road and all of a sudden move sideways causing road accidents. I was witness to such an accident on Kamaraj Salai,” said Resha Benny, a resident of Third Cross, Venketa Nagar.

The pictures of herds of cattle along the main thoroughfares, especially in Lawspet, speak volumes about the problem, said T.V. Sreekumar, 2nd Main Road Extension, Avvai Nagar. “Some are let out by owners at night and these animals return home at daybreak. They not only cause traffic snarls but also spoil the roads. Have seen people stepping on dung unknowingly and slipping,” he added.

R. Ravindran, a shop owner on 45-feet road, said the animals eat vegetables kept outside.

Allowing cattle to roam on the roads is dangerous for the animal as well, said S. Ramkumar, Dean of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Veterinary Education and Research

Injurious to animals

“Many end up with fatal injuries. Since these animals eat garbage containing plastic bags, indigestible materials and sharp objects they develop complicated health conditions. In the last six months, the hospital attended to around 100 cases of bloat, fractures, horn avulsion, acidosis and impaction of rumen. Free roaming on streets is a threat to humans as well as to the animals” he added.

The municipalities have constraints in impounding all stray animals. Absence of proper shelter homes and lack of adequate staff to maintain the animals are the two main issues in dealing with stray cattle problem, said a senior official in the Local Administration Department.

Commissioner of Oulgaret Municipality M. Kandasamy said the municipality had impounded 21 stray cattle last year. The municipality does not have tractor-trolleys to impound and transport the animal to a vacant place. “We have to depend on the Pondicherry municipality vehicles,” he said.

The municipality was planning to make amendments to the Pondicherry Municipalities (Cattle Pound ) Rules, 1979 to increase the fine amount on those who set free their cattle on the streets.

As per the existing provisions, the civic body could only charge ₹1 as fine, he said and added that the Pondicherry Municipality had amended the sections.

“We will be doing it very soon,” said Mr. Kandasamy.

Commissioner of Pondicherry Municipality S. Sivakumar said the civic body had impounded 88 heads of stray cattle last year. It has collected ₹2.15 lakh as fine from cattle owners, he said and added that maintaining the shelter home was a challenge.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 4:12:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/stray-cattle-a-menace-on-several-roads/article30936238.ece

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