Radium reflectors have been used for a long time on vehicles and Madhya Pradesh police have found in the idea a new solution to an old problem — accidents caused at night by stray cattle.
They have started pasting radium stickers on the horns of cattle hoping that the glow would give the driver time to avoid hitting stray cattle and evade an accident.
The latest to take the initiative are Balaghat police, who have stuck radium stickers on about 100 cattle-heads over the last five days. “A lot of accidents were taking place at night involving cattle that were either stationary or had strayed,” said Balaghat additional SP Akash Bhuria.
Over the last two years, a few other districts have used the idea but with limited success, mainly because the number of stray cattle is high and the police either don’t have the manpower or the will to chase the cattle.
In Khargone, the idea of using radium stickers stemmed from cow vigilantism and the rise of communal incidents that followed accidents involving cows. “If the driver involved in an accident leading to the death of a cow was Muslim, Bajrang Dal activists would protest and the accident would take a communal tone,” Khargone SP Amit Singh told The Indian Express.
Singh said he began by using radium stickers on bullock carts and tractor trolleys that are often involved in accidents, and extended the idea to cows because their death was always a sensitive issue. He said several police stations started doing this a year ago.
There are no government orders and the idea has been implemented in some districts out of an initiative taken by local police authorities, mainly the traffic wing. Police officials admitted the idea has not worked because the stickers don’t remain for very long and the number of cattle is very high.
In-charge of Balaghat traffic police station Kailash Chouhan said the idea will not succeed unless municipal authorities are involved. “It’s not easy to put stickers because some cows chase the policemen,” he said.