‘A makeshift cattle pound will be set up in the city limits’
There are multiple factors contributing to the city’s traffic chaos – damaged roads, wayward driving and an increasing number of vehicles. But there is another problem on this list: stray cattle that stroll on crowded roads, bringing vehicles to a grinding halt.
The number of cattle on the busy roads in the city, especially in recent months, has increased, rue residents. J. Anantha Padmanabhan, a resident of Srirangam complains that cattle, when chased, get agitated and start attacking passers by. “These cattle come awfully close to the vehicles, especially two-wheelers. I recently received a video of a cow attacking and maiming two-wheeler riders, too,” he says. This has been going on without any kind of intervention by the authorities concerned, he adds.
The cattle are undeterred by honking. Often, vehicles are forced to veer around them, which results in slow movement of traffic. V. Sundararaju, president, Society for Conservation of Nature (SOFCON) says that the Revenue Department used to maintain pounds for stray cattle years ago. “A pound keeper, appointed by the department used to watch the cattle until the owner paid a fine and made a claim. Nowadays, however, these pounds do not exist and the city corporation, which is the nodal agency, does not pay much heed,” he says adding that areas like Gandhi Market, Woraiyur and Srirangam have the most number of stray cattle.
For years, the civic body has not taken action on any stray cattle, says Mr. Sundararaju. “The additional problem of these cattle consuming waste on the streets, even ingesting plastic could cause a threat to their lives,” he says.
Motorists complain of high risk, especially at night. “There are cattle sitting near dividers on Bharathidasan Salai, in front of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital at night and feeding on the plants on the divider. I have been unable to see them at night and have almost rammed into them several times. Accidents, in this case, are unavoidable,” says R. Ramakrishnan, a resident of Puthur.
City Corporation officials, acknowledging that the problem has drastically increased, say that a plan has been drawn up and action will soon be taken. A. Jagannathan, City Health Officer, Tiruchi Corporation, said following an internal meeting, the city corporation commissioner had earmarked zone-wise hotspots for stray cattle. “A makeshift cattle pound will be set up in each of the four zones in the city limits. Cattle will be taken from the streets and kept in the pound for three to four days. A fine of upt o ₹ 5000 will be levied to owners of the cattle,” he said.
The reason cattle stray on the streets is because owners allow them to, says Mr. Jagannathan.
The City Corporation is also attempting to streamline cattle trade in the city by providing licenses through the Animal Welfare Board, says Mr. Jagannathan.