Stray animal menace turns 'deadly' on city roads
By Namrata Sahoo | ENS | Published: 26th August 2012 11:35 AM |
How long would the civic authorities take to wake up to the harsh reality of the bovine menace in the thoroughfares of the Capital City? So hazardous has become the invasion of cattle and dogs, the City roads have turned out to be virtual death traps.
This is in addition to the wayward auto-rickshaw driving, contributing to frequent accidents, sometimes fatal, daily.
Such is their menace that one could mistake Infocity, State’s software hub, for a large cattle grazing ground as hundreds of stray cattle crowd the road once evening falls.
Be it the busy Janpath or Old Town, a major tourist spot of the City, they all paint a similar dismal picture.
Traffic has been the casualty.
The tryst with stray animals doubles during night time, when visibility is reduced dramatically, resulting in increasing number of road mishaps.
Four or five cases of accidents due to stray animals are received every night at the Capital Hospital.
It amounts to approximately 1,800 accidents a year.
“We mostly get cases from Old Town, Badagada and nearby areas of Baramunda,” said an official of the Casualty Ward.
The actual figure is much more as many such victims of accidents prefer to go to private clinics or nursing homes since they have little faith in government hospitals.
Sadly, neither the hospital authorities nor the police are in a position to peg the number of such accidents on a day-to-day basis.
A large number of accidents due to stray animals go unreported unless it results in a death because the victims cannot lodge a complaint against a cow or a dog.
Contacted, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Recovery Officer Sumita Behera, who supervises picking up of the stray cattle, could not provide any figure as to how many stray cattle are captured everyday or in the last three months.
In reality, the cattle catching operation has come to a standstill.
With just one kine house out of three functioning in the City and eight staff supporting the cattle catching operation, the infrastructure is woefully inadequate.
To cap it, nobody in the BMC seems to be paying any attention to this grave issue which causes many deaths or permanent disabilities.
However, the BMC is quick to rebut any allegation about its inefficiency and indifference in this regard.
Deputy Commissioner K P Pati asserted that stray cattle are being regularly taken off the streets for free flow of traffic.
But the Unit 3 kine house had only two cows inhabiting it, when checked.
If the exercise is being conducted regularly, then where are the cattle being put up? Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena, however, said that the picking of stray cattle would be intensified from this month.
The BMC is planning to take over two-acre land, after General Administration’s (GA) approval and convert an acre into grazing land and the rest to contain the stray animals picked up from the roads.
Not just cattle, the increasing number of stray dogs have worsened the situation.
The BMC has a dog squad that is responsible for capturing stray dogs and sterilising them.
The programme, which started in 2008, has sterilised 6,800 dogs till date, at an average of 2,000 sterilisations a year.
The 2008 census showed 16,000 stray dogs in the City which must have grown to 24,000 now, given the 10 per cent increase every year.
The programme, managed by nine staffers, including surgeons, was set for a three- year deadline wherein they were supposed to control the increase in the number of stray dogs.
Yet again, lack of infrastructure and funding were the reasons for the slow rate of sterilisation.
The BMC provides Rs 10 lakh for the sterilisation programme every year.
The Housing and Urban Development Department has sanctioned `30 lakh for purchase of equipment for the programme.
“If the number of sterilisations is increased from 2,000 to 4,000 every year, then we might be nearer our target, else the condition will remain the same or worsen,” said another BMC official.