UNDETERRED BY self-immolation attempts by three women, the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) continued its cattle impounding drive and captured 35 more stray cattle on Thursday. Rajkot municipal commissioner would hold a meeting with maldharis or cattle-herders on Friday to discuss their demand for developing a separate colony for them.
Teams from the Cattle Nuisance Control Department of the RMC combed Karanpara and Junction areas of the city and impounded 35 cattle heads. “The incident of Wednesday (suicide attempt by three women) will not have any bearing on our work and we shall continue to impound cattle straying on roads and streets of the city. We impound average 120 cattle per day. But, the count was low today as the area chosen for the day is challenging,” said Bhavesh Jakasaniya, veterinary officer of the RMC.
Three women had doused themselves with kerosene and tried to set themselves on fire at Vishwakarma Society on 150 Feet Ring Road on Wednesday when teams of the RMC took away some cattle from the area. The self-immolation bid was foiled by the State Reserve Police personnel. So far, 25 people have been booked and 5 arrested for “obstructing work of public servants”. Those arrested were later released on bail. The RMC has rigorously pursued the agenda of making city roads free from nuisance of stray cattle for two-and-a-half year. The civic body has impounded around 29,000 cattle over this period.
“The cattle census (of 2012) had estimated the population of cattle in the city to be around 35,000. But, it seems this number is much higher. Plus, feral cattle keep on migrating to the city. Therefore, we have not been able to get rid of the problem cent per cent. But, we are committed to making city roads free from the cattle nuisance,” municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra said.
Last year, the civic body had made the registration of cattle mandatory and warned that unregistered cattle would be impounded even from home. Civic officers said that around 24,000 cattle have been registered.
The RMC has also set up four “animal hostels” in Kothariya, Mavdi, Raiyadhar and Ronaki villages. The civic body also provides facilities like sheds, water and electricity free of cost to cattle-herders for their cattle, but so far these four facilities have only around 650 animals.
In a bid to deter the cattle-herders from letting their animal lose, the civic body collects Rs1,000 fine and Rs 700 per day maintenance charge for release of an impounded cattle.
Meanwhile, cattle-herders have demanded a separate locality for them where they can live and keep their animals. The municipal commissioner would hold a meeting with representatives of the cattle-herders on Friday to discuss the issue.