All stray cattle found wandering the capital’s streets are caught by the three municipal corporations and sent to five government-run gaushalas — two each in the North and South and one in the East. In May alone, the civic bodies had impounded over 700 cattle. However, for the past month, the shelters have being turning away cattle as they are “filled to capacity”.
Stating that the situation has become “critical” over the last one month, Director Animal Husbandry, Delhi government, Dr Jitendra Kumar Gaur told The Indian Express, “Stray cattle is a big problem. A solution to this will be found at the earliest.”
Last year, the North civic body caught over 4,300 stray cattle, while the South corporation caught almost the same number from areas under their jurisdiction. On an average, the three MCDs pick up approximately 500 stray cattle per month, officials said. In May, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation had impounded 105 cattle, the East civic body 300 and South 306.
The corporation and the animal husbandry department of the state government contribute Rs 20 each per cow per day towards the maintenance of cattle in these gaushalas. The purpose of a gaushala is to provide shelter to stray cattle that do not produce milk. This includes feeding and medical care.
While the North civic body had issues with overcrowding, the SDMC raised concerns with the Delhi government regarding the management of the two gaushalas in its area — Acharya Sushil Muni Gau Sadan in Ghuman Hera, Najafgarh, and Manav Gau Sadan, Rewla Khanpur. However, Director Veterinary Services (SDMC) RBS Tyagi claimed that over the past year, villagers in the area have illegally taken over the Najafgarh gaushala.
Meanwhile, the management of Manav Gau Sadan is contesting the SDMC in the Delhi High Court. Owing to these issues, the SDMC has been sending its cattle to the Dabar Hare Krishna Gaushala under the East corporation’s zone — which receives cattle from East as well as North Delhi.
Apart from government shelters, even private gaushalas have complained of overcrowding in recent months. The management of a gaushala in Kishangarh stated that while they have the capacity to house around 1,000 cattle, they currently are holding 1,700.
According to Dr Gaur, the solutions available to the government are to change the “pathetic conditions” of some gaushalas and accommodate cattle there, or to stop the influx of cattle from other states. “Right now, two gaushalas in Bawana and Harevli are accommodating most of the cattle. But the influx has to be controlled, else the situation could become critical,” he said.