CHENNAI: Despite a crackdown by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) on stray cattle after a nine-year-old girl was brutally attacked by a cow recently, the bovines continue to rule the roads. There is a long road ahead of us before we can provide any practical solutions to tackle the problem say experts and cattle rearers.
Between August 1 - August 22, 385 stray cattle were seized and Rs 7.7 lakh was collected as fines from the owners. The corporation has classified Tripplicane and Villivakkam as hotspot areas for stray cattle. TNIE visited Triplicane to assess the ground reality and found 30 cattle roaming within a five-km radius.
The bovine parade on Periya Veethi, Venkatrangam Street and the market areas obstructed traffic as the animals took their own sweet time to munch on the vegetable waste from bins and in the market. And when people try to make them move, they often charge said, locals.
“Many times locals, including school children, have been attacked by the cattle,” said Shareef P, an auto driver in the area. “I have seen corporation vehicles used to seize stray cattle but I haven’t seen them use it,” said Sudha S, a shopkeeper.
When asked, cattle owners dismissed the idea that the animals were a nuisance. “I have three cows. I let them out only after feeding them. Until now, I’ve not received news that my cattle has created problems,” said Chandran I.
Corporation rules mandate cattle rearers must have a 36 sq ft area for a cow, a six-ft compound wall and a drainage area with a proper shed. “We need to look for practical long-term solutions,” said Preetha, a cattle rearer from Velacherry.
“Cattle rearing is not new. Earlier, there were large open grazing spaces available. We have occupied these spaces and converted them into commercial, residential establishments. So the onus is not only on the cattle rearers. There are many temple lands that can be allotted for grazing,” she added.
An official of the health department in the corporation told TNIE, “Sanitary inspectors are mandated to inspect cattle rearing places. But a shortage of manpower makes monitoring and enforcement of rules a herculean task.”