Taking serious note of the stray cattle menace in Gujarat, chief minister Bhupendra Patel directed senior secretary of urban development, IAS Mukesh Kumar, to address the issue.
At a cabinet meeting chaired by the CM Thursday, the officer was instructed to remove strays from the city roads and send them to panjrapoles (charitable organisations working for animal welfare) or a gaushala (cow shed). The civil servant was also ordered to make provisions for financial assistance to institutions zeroed in for the task and to maintain a record of the same.
Stray cattle continue to be a major problem and has compromised road safety in many instances on the National Highways that run through Gujarat. The recent spate of rains made the menace worse, the CM pointed out, stating that even more cattle abound the roads with the fields all water-logged.
Noteworthy is the August 13 incident when a stray cow entered a Tiranga Yatra rally in Kadi. Former deputy CM Nitin Patel was injured in a stampede caused by the sudden entry of the cow.
Expressing a sense of urgency in redressal of the matter, the CM reminded all ministers to assist the secretary with resources: “The National Games start onwards September 27 while the Defence Expo will be held in Gandhinagar from October 18 to October 22. This public nuisance must be resolved by then.”
The last budget made provision for financial assistance local bodies or voluntary institutions for control of stray cattle. Respective municipal corporations were asked to oversee the spends and implement remedial measures. In fact, to tackle the growing problem, the state government also passed the Stray Cattle Prevention Act after the suo moto cognizance by the Gujarat HC.
“The pashupalaks or cattle rearing people form an important vote bank segment. In view of some opposition, the Gujarat government withdrew strict action by way of impounding cattle that might have lost its way from the herd or left to graze on public property. The CM has opted for a middle path in sending them to panjrapoles and gaushalas, and also provide with financial assistance,” detailed an official present at the meet.