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Stray cattle loiter in streets in lack of shelter

NIRJANA SHARMA

KATHMANDU, April 7: In absence of shelter house for derelict cattle picked from the streets, the Traffic Police and Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) are compelled to keep the animals for several days in the same vehicles used to haul them.

A joint team deployed by Metropolitan Traffic Police Division and KMC carted off 40 cattle from the street this week alone.

On Monday alone, the metropolis controlled 18 male calves from Dallu, Samakhushi, Gongabu, Chappalkarkhana, Kalimati, Swayambhu and Gaushala. Generally, stray cows, calves and buffaloes are caught from the road and sent to a kanji house.

Similarly on Thursday, 22 animals were cornered at different parts of the capital and taken to the kanji house. Four male calves and oxen were caught from Gaurighat, eight from Balkhu, three from Gopikrishna, two each from Guheswari and Kupondole and one each from Dhumbarahi, Maharajgunj and Baneshwar, according to the traffic division.

The metropolis staff feed dry straw to the animals.

The officials said they go out once a week to clear the streets of stray animals. Such animals are kept inside the vehicle until they are auctioned off or driven out of the city to be released on outskirts of the Valley.

“The cattle are directly auctioned from the vehicles,” said Inspector Dhanapati Sapkota, chief of the KMC security department. The unsold animals are carried away to Dhading, Sindhupalchowk and Nuwakot districts, said Sapkota.

Though KMC is responsible to manage a kanji house to keep unclaimed cattle, the animals are kept under poor conditions in the same vehicle regardless of the heat in summer, the freezing temperature of winter and during the rain.

A kanji should have proper arrangements to house the animals comfortably. In lack of space, however, KMC takes the cattle to its barrack where old vehicles are stored.

“Considering their suffering we try to auction them within a week,” said Inspector Sapkota.

However, the cattle that were brought to KMC barrack on Monday were still inside the same vehicle on Wednesday. They were later dispatched to Kavre district.

Likewise, the rest of the animals were sent away on Saturday evening.

The Metropolis which has caught around 1000 stray cattle since the last fiscal year has been able to auction only 250 cattle.

“Nobody is interested in buying the cattle except for some people who come looking for cows,” a KMC staff said.

According to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD) data, 13 cattle have been killed and seven sustained injuries in road accidents in the Valley in the running fiscal year. Likewise, 15 animals perished and 5 were injured in road accidents last fiscal year. The data does not include stray dogs and cats.

Where do the cattle come from?

The male calves are generally abandoned by the livestock entrepreneurs, say officials.

Contrary to the practice in other districts, where cattle owners demand compensation from owner of the vehicles involved in an accident that kills animals, no one even comes forward to lodge complaint of missing cattle in the capital, said the MTPD Spokesperson Giri.

The KMC auctioned 250 cattle in the last fiscal year, but not a single animal was claimed by their owners.

Earlier, most oxen and buffalo seen on the street were abandoned after branding them with hot iron in the remembrance of a dead family member as per the Hindu culture.

However, the trend has shifted and most of the unclaimed male calves and buffalos in the Valley are abandoned by the livestock farmers who feel burden to feed animals that are of no use to them, says sub inspector with KMC´s city police Kishor Bhattarai.

“The cattle seen on the road these days are mostly males that have grown old,” said Bhattarai. “Most of them do not have branded marks as seen just a few years ago.”

Hindus worship cow as Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. It is still illegal in Nepal to slaughtering or intentionally kill cows, said Bhattarai.

Traffic blames KMC for stray animals

KMC and MTPD officials blame each other for the stray animals causing obstruction in vehicular movement in the Capital. Traffic spokesperson says that KMC should be active to remove the cattle from the streets everyday to help ease the traffic.

However, Sub Inspector Bhattarai, who is also in the auction committee of the KMC, says that auctioning the unclaimed cattle is a challenge for them.

“We can´t go for auction unless there are at least three bidders,” Bhattarai mentioned.

The KMC catches cattle from the road every Sunday. Following the pressure from the traffic police to control the stray animals, the drive was carried out twice this week. The office has only one vehicle in which the animals are carried and sheltered.

Source: Republica Daily

Link: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=52736

Published on 2013-04-07 07:00:42
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About nirjanasharma

Journalist.

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