After three deaths in Gujarat’s Vadodara district due to stray bovines on the streets, the civic body has asked for State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) help to catch stray cattle and tighten the noose around their owners. Among other steps taken to check the menace, Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) plans to intensify night patrol and make licensing mandatory.
On August 31, a 52-year-old man had died on the spot when a stray cow attacked him in the New VIP Road area while he was walking on the road. On September 4, a stray cow attacked and killed a motorcycle-borne man, 27, near Vadiwadi. A 35-year-old man was attacked by stray cattle on Tuesday evening in a private compound at Gorwa.
On Wednesday, the VMC Commissioner held a meeting with the Commissioner of Police to bring into effect multiple notifications to resolve the menace. The VMC has requested a SRPF company, comprising about 90 jawans, to assist the anti-encroachment officers of the civic body in patrolling the streets. Municipal Commissioner Vinod Rao said, “We have requested one entire company of SRPF of about 90 officers to assist our team during patrol. Apart from this, we are intensifying night patrol and our officers will crack down on the cattle found on the streets. We held a joint meeting with the Commissioner of Police who will also issue notifications prohibiting the presence of cattle on the streets.”
While the civic body has been trying to crack down on stray cattle, the biggest problem has been tracing the owners. An official said, “The stray cattle can be impounded and sent to the panjrapole, but when we confiscate a bovine, its owner they usually secure its release and it is back on the streets. A need for licensing was felt during this time.”
Commissioner Rao confirmed that the VMC was in the process to draft a new notification under the existing provisions of the Gujarat Provincial Municipal Corporations (GPMC) Act to license cattle owners. Rao said, “There is a provision to issue mandatory licences to owners, but it has not been put into effect until now. We have decided that we will begin licensing owners in order to organise our action.
We will check if owners have plot that is sufficient to hold the number of cattle they possess. You cannot have a plot for 50 cattle and own 150. It will give powers to our officers to enter the private premises and confiscate excess cattle.”
In the last one month alone, the VMC’s encroachment department has initiated action after about 400 complaints of cattle menace. VMC Encroachment Director Mangesh Jaiswal said, “We have lodged 17 official FIRs, including a case where our officers were assaulted by cattle owners during a drive. In rest of the cases, we have confiscated and handed over the cattle to the health department that has impounded them.”