Taking cognisance over the matter of cattle impounding and their settlement, the Gujarat High Court on Monday, September 5, 2022, directed the state government to create a war room acting as a connection between the concerned departments.
The HC has observed the cattle menace across the state as perennial.
Moreover, the court has also asked the government to come up with a short-term and long-term plan.
Besides these directions, the court has asked the Director General of Police to convene a meeting of all District SPs to chalk out a plan to deal with the issues happening across the districts.
Stating the issue of cattle menace as perennial, the HC has passed repeated orders passed for the state to come up with solutions that hold both the short-term and long-term plans.
While directing the state government and the concerned officials and lawyers connected with the issue, the court asked them to provide inputs to address the problem so that appropriate orders can be passed. Besides, stern action should be taken against the anti-social elements, who take the law into their hands and book these animals.
Meanwhile, the Ahmedabad police commissioner, Sanjay Srivastava has submitted a list of police cases filed against persons, who had assaulted officials and obstructed them in their duty of impounding the cattle. He suggested that PASA be invoked for those who obstruct officials from performing such duties.
Here, impounded animals are termed all dogs, cats, wildlife, rodents and all other animals commonly kept as domestic pets or livestock, which are impounded and confined at the Animal Shelter by the agents of Canton Township.
Moreover, the municipal corporation of Ahmedabad submitted an affidavit claiming prompt actions were taken by its officials to implement the court orders.
In response, the HC stated the government should prevent untoward incidents from happening due to stray cattle.
As per the affidavit filed by Dy Municipal Commissioner R A. Merja, two AMC officials, Prashant Pandya and Manish Trivedi have been deputed for supervision of the Cattle Menace Control Department (CMCD). There are 21 teams in all 7 seven zones working round the clock to tackle the issue. Land plots are identified to build three cattle shelters for impounded cattle.
The affidavit enclosed the captured list of 427 animals and the FIRs (97) between August 24 and 28 during the drive in the city. The work of controlling the cattle menace is decentralised and divided among health, solid waste management and estate departments to achieve better results.
Earlier, the state government had initiated stringent action to tackle the stray cattle menace after the Gujarat High Court admonished the state and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) for not doing enough even as the state government submitted that impounded cattle shall not be released for the next three months.
A division bench of Judges Aravind Kumar and AJ Shastri directed the Gujarat State Legal Services Authority member secretary to submit a report with regard to stray cattle found on roads and other open areas in Ahmedabad, noting that news reports have been highlighting rampant stray cattle attacks.
Taking cognisance of the issues faced by the public in urban areas, the state legislature passed the Gujarat Cattle Control (Keeping and Moving) in Urban Areas Bill, 2022 on March 31 this year.
The Urban Areas Bill, 2022 in its ‘statement of objects and reasons,’ mentions the threat stray cattle pose to those riding two-wheelers. The new Bill after becoming law will be applicable in Gujarat’s eight major cities – Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Gandhinagar, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar and Junagadh – which have municipal corporations and 162 towns, which have municipalities and are notified as urban areas.