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Taking the bull by its horns, literally

Staff Reporter

Action against MCD if judges sight even a single beast after Thursday deadline



`Cowboys' at work: MCD employees catching a stray bull in New Delhi on Tuesday. The civic body is finding it difficult to meet the court-imposed deadline of May 5 to free the Capital of stray cattle. — AFP

NEW DELHI: Municipal Corporation of Delhi employees are in a fix these days trying to catch an estimated 30,000 stray cattle in the Capital, that too within a week. So far, the civic body has managed to catch only 200 head of cattle in the past couple of days.

The Delhi High Court had given a directive on the issue on April 28 to the Delhi Police Commissioner, the MCD Commissioner, the New Delhi Municipal Council Chairman, the Delhi Cantonment Board's Chief Executive, Delhi's Chief Secretary, and the Delhi Development Authority Vice-Chairman. The High Court had warned that it would summon heads of all civic agencies of the city if judges hearing an appeal sight a single beast on the streets after Thursday.

However, it is actually the MCD under which the 98 per cent area of the Capital falls that faces the greatest challenge to clear Delhi's roads and colonies of stray cattle.

Besides hindering the smooth flow of traffic, a rampaging bull gored to death two people in an East Delhi locality early this year. Stray cattle are also responsible for a number of accidents on Delhi roads.

All this exposed the claims of the Delhi Government and the MCD that "action" was being taken to remove stray cattle, the main source being the network of illegal dairies. The Corporation have identified 2,800 such dairies that are to be relocated.

However, after the High Court's direction, the civic bodies swung into action launching special drives and taking the help of police to tackle any public protest. Though the drive is on full swing, senior MCD officials feel that it would take months before all stray cattle are removed from the Capital roads and colonies.

The MCD squads catch the stray animals and later auction them off. During the past two days, the Corporation has been targeting illegal dairies and urban villages in various South Delhi localities. The MCD is planning to acquire powerful 30 dart guns to tranquilise bulls, while the proposal to implant electronic chips into cattle containing ownership information has also been approved.

Similarly, other agencies in the Capital like the NDMC and the Delhi Cantonment Board have also stepped up the drive to catch stray cattle, though these areas are relatively less affected by the problem.

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