Karnal still not stray-cattle free

Parveen Arora

Karnal that had been declared a stray-cattle free district presents a picture to the contrary. Stray cattle can be seen squatting or roaming on roads, thus disrupting vehicular traffic and creating problems for commuters. These have also been involved in several accidents. 

The district got the tag of stray-cattle free last year after the authorities claimed to have shifted all of them to gaushalas and nandishalas. But the ground reality is different, as a number of stray cattle can be seen on various roads in the district. Abandoned cattle can also be seen on the roads of Karnal city, including Mughal Canal, Model Town, Sectors 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, near old and new vegetable markets, and old city roads. 

“These animals not only disrupt the smooth flow of traffic, but also lead to fatal accidents. The authorities should take steps to curb the menace. If they are not able to remove these animals from roads, they can at least paste glowing radium reflectors on their horns to avoid accidents during nights and foggy days,” says Saurabh Kadiyan, a resident.

Though there are gaushalas, gaudhams, and nandishalas in Karnal city, stray cattle can still be seen on roads, says Dimple, another resident.

“Duing night time, these animals can prove to be dangerous, as they appear suddenly before vehicles. I have faced this situation many times, but the authorities concerned are doing nothing,” he adds.

SP Surinder Singh Bhoria says no fatal accident involving stray cattle took place in Karnal last year. He admits that stray cattle on roads make it difficult to handle traffic.

The district authorities claim that cattle owners abandon them after they stop giving milk. “The district was declared stray-cattle free last year but cattle abandoned after they stop giving milk can be seen roaming on roads. All of them will be adjusted in gaushalas and nandishalas in the coming month,” says Nishant Kumar Yadav, Additional Deputy Commissioner-cum-Nodal Officer of the project.

A survey conducted by the Animal Husbandry Department shows that the number of abandoned cattle is increasing year after year. “In 2017, the district administration had identified 1,444 stray cattle, but surprisingly it rehabilitated 2,074 cattle in 24 gaushalas and four nandishalas,” says Bikram Hooda, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry.

Though 2,074 stray cattle have been lifted from roads, the department has counted 1,236 more. Of these, the department claims to have shifted 521 to various gaushalas and nandishalas so far, while 715 are still on roads. The budget and space crunch in various gaushalas and nandishalas is contributing to the grim situation. “We have shifted 521 cattle to various gaushalas and nandishalas. All 28 gaushalas and nandishalas are packed with 13,852 cattle and there is no space left there,” he says. 

“The number of oxen is a little higher and nobody is ready to accept them. So, we have chalked out a plan to give the charge of the nandishalas in Bohla Khalsa and Kohand villages to a committee headed by Gopal Swami to take care of their needs,” says Hooda. 

The Deputy Director admits that they have no authority to impose a fine on people who abandon their animals on roads after they stop giving milk. “We have no power even to challan or impose a fine on any person who leaves his non-productive cattle on road,” he says. Bhani Ram Mangla, chairman of the Gau Sewa Aayog, says that there are around 20,000 stray cattle in Haryana. They are going to provide a provision of imposing a fine of Rs 5,100 on those who abandon their cattle on roads.

“Around two years ago, when the Aayog started working, there were 1.25 lakh stray cattle on roads in the state. We have shifted 1.05 lakh of these to various gaushalas and nandishalas. Around 20,000 non-productive cattle abandoned by their owners still roam on roads. We are taking it seriously and a fine of Rs 5,100 will be imposed on those who leave their cattle on roads for the first time and Rs 11,000 next time,” says Mangla.

He adds that the Aayog has been providing funds to the gaushalas and the nandishalas for fodder and sheds. A toll-free number will be notified soon for lodging complaints regarding stray cattle.

Fine to be imposed

Around two years ago, when the Aayog started working, there were 1.25 lakh stray cattle on roads in the state. We have shifted 1.05 lakh of these to various gaushalas and nandishalas. Around 20,000 non-productive cattle abandoned by their owners still roam on roads. We are taking it seriously and a fine of Rs 5,100 will be imposed on those who leave their cattle on roads for the first time and Rs 11,000 next time. —Bhani Ram Mangla, chairman of Gau Sewa Aayog