‘Strays on roads pose health risks, cause accidents; why can’t GCC remove them?’
As some cattle owners do not feed them properly, stray cows and buffaloes are often found eating out of dustbins and from the wastes dumped on the roadside.
CHENNAI: The issue of cattle, pigs and dogs wandering through roads already choked with traffic is not new, but the issue now is the lack of monitoring by the authorities of the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to address the menace.
Stray animals not only affect traffic but at times pose danger to motorists and school-going kids. Though the stray cattle are often caught and impounded in shelter with a fine, the relief is short-term, as the animals are back on the roads in no time.
In the case of dogs, the situation is even worse as they are prolific breeders and pose the danger of carrying rabies infection. And the nuisance of pigs exacerbates the fear of swine flu, leptospirosis and pathogenic infections.
“It has become a perennial issue especially at night because we’re unaware of the cows roaming and lying on the road. Without streetlights, it’s difficult to navigate,” fumed S Jayachandran, a long-time resident of Ambattur. “The corporation vehicle that catches the cattle is hardly seen making sorties. In some cases, cattle owners in the area are supported by local politicians.”
As some cattle owners do not feed them properly, stray cows and buffaloes are often found eating out of dustbins and from the wastes dumped on the roadside. Hundreds of cattle are spotted regularly inside the Koyambedu wholesale market, especially near the shops that sell vegetables and fruits.
R Muthukumar, a vendor at the wholesale market, explained: “The civic body authorities fail to act against the stray cattle. It’s a huge nuisance for us and customers too. These animals eat the perishable commodities that are dumped here. That’s unhygienic. Though multiple petitions are filed to the elected members and ward councillors, corporation officials haven’t done anything.”
Similarly, due to garbage pileup, overflowing sewage, and defunct waterbodies there has been an increase in the pig population. It’s turning out to be a menace in the north Chennai especially from Radhakrishnan Nagar in Tondiarpet to Tiruvottiyur.
“Pigs roam on the streets causing many accidents in the locality. Local authorities don’t care about maintaining a clean space. We’re afraid of health hazards,” averred A Arumairaj, a resident of Tiruvottiyur.
When contacted, Dr J Kamal Hussain, veterinary officer, GCC, told DT Next that more than 400 cattle were caught every month, and penalties were always imposed against the owners.
“The police must register a case against them, which they don’t do. Each zone has a vehicle to catch cattle roaming on the roads. Monthly review meetings are conducted with health officers and sanitary inspectors in the city. However, we do not have a separate team to catch pigs. We’ve hired private catchers to catch and leave the animals in the outskirts,” he added.