Mira-Bhayandar: Thanks to the blind eye turned by the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) pedestrians and motorists are facing nightmarish encounters with herds of stray cattle roaming freely on the roads of the twin-city. There have been frequent incidents in which pedestrians were injured and damage to vehicles owing to freak mishaps due to the presence of stray animals.
In some cases, even the cattle get injured after accidentally falling into trenches and drains. The number of cattle in the registry of MBMC’s animal husbandry department is around 1150 which includes cows and buffaloes in 29 small and big cow sheds. However, the actual count of stray cattle according to the department is limited to 650.
Stray Cattles Roaming on Streets of Mira Road |
The MBMC had inked a three-year contract with a private agency in July-2022 to act against cattle found to be roaming on streets. As many as 105 stray cattle found roaming on the roads were rounded up by the teams deployed by the agency and each of the owners were fined Rs 2,000 with an undertaking that they will not let their cow or buffaloes wander in public places.
“Out of the penalty amounting Rs.2,000, the civic administration which did not have to spend a single penny for the cattle-catching tender was even entitled to receive Rs.690 as proceeds towards each catch.” said an official from the MBMC's animal husbandry department.
Agency Went On Backfoot Alleging Resistance From Locals
However, the agency backed out in September-2023 owing to stiff resistance in the form of abuses, threats and intimidation by some politically-backed cow vigilantes alleging ill-treatment to the cows whom they revered and worshipped. In a letter (dated 14, September, 2023) to MBMC seeking voluntary termination of the contract, the agency operator has stated that apart from curses and abuse, some cow owners-especially women turned violent by threatening to harm themselves if the cows were not released.
Since the abrupt termination of the contract the lone “kondwada” (a pen where stray animals are confined) run by the MBMC in Bhayandar has remained idle for the past more than a year and the stray cattle continue to dominate the roads and thus endangering people’s lives. Some owners of illegal makeshift cow sheds let their animals loose on the roads during the day time without making proper arrangements.