Open House: What steps should be taken to minimise fatal accidents due to stray cattle during fog?
Only awareness won’t help, we need action
Foggy winter season has become a big safety concern for travellers. Poor visibility results in terrible road mishaps. Stray cattle have added to the menace of riders. Even during clear weather, stray cattle lead to traffic jams and mishaps. During fog, poor visibility makes the situation worse with stray animals roaming along the roadside. Our Indian principles prevent cow slaughter, therefore, farmers desert unproductive cows, which in turn is increasing the stray cattle population in cities especially highways. Municipalities need to keep a regular check on the population of stray animals with their periodic sterilisation drive. Government funds need to be allocated for the development of cow shelters for the maintenance of these animals. We worship cows in India, adoption of such animals needs to be promoted. Only awareness is not the solution to the problem, productive efforts to counter the problem are need of the hour.
Residents, authorities need to be proactive
People should follow traffic rules and encourage their relatives and friends to follow these as well. During fog, they must use the hazard lights along with keeping the speed slow of the vehicle to avoid accidents. The authorities on the other hand must fill potholes on roads as soon as possible. Some traffic lights such as those near the main gate of new Amritsar are dysfunctional which must be fixed. CCTV cameras must be installed covering every road of the city, so that strict enforcement of rules is ensured.
Need to Learn from Scandinavian nations
Herds of cattle, particularly cows and bulls, roam freely on the thoroughfares and interior roads of the city causing untold misery and hindrance to traffic. The problem has assumed alarming proportions as stray cattle add to traffic woes on the already congested roads. Many people riding two-wheelers have been fatally injured and many have lost their precious lives because of accidents involving cattle. Due to low visibility, stray cattle frequently lead to road accidents jeopardising public safety resulting in a myriad of casualties. According to a rough estimate, more than 3,000 head of stray cattle have been roaming in and around the city. Therefore, the authorities concerned should impound stray cattle, a menace on several roads and a grave threat to motorists, to put them in shelters which must be set up for this purpose along the highways, where they can be herded and lodged. The owners who let their cattle out at night should be identified and penalised heavily. Better lighting system can help minimise the problem as most serious accidents involving cattle take place at night. Police patrol parties should be deputed to monitor roads so as to drive away stray cattle. Gaushalas with adequate space should be set up. Dairies should be relocated on the outskirts of the city. Undoubtedly the MC has constraints in impounding all stray cattle because of the absence of proper cow shelters and paucity of manpower to maintain the animals. But this should not be used as a ruse to evade responsibility and accountability. The so-called gau-rakshaks should come forward to help the authorities in minimising the danger posed by the waif cattle roaming leisurely on city roads. The neighbouring towns/ cities have a tendency to leave their stray cattle on the outskirts of the city. This tendency should be curbed. People who worship cows and call them ‘gau mata’ should adopt stray cows to alleviate their lot and help minimise fatal accidents. Cows abound in Scandinavian countries. Clues should be taken from them as how to deal with surplus cows.
Tarsem S Bumrah
Tag animals, tie radium bands at cattle fairs
Stray cattle roam freely on roads and highways thereby hindering travellers after being abandoned by owners when the former stop producing milk. To minimise accidents due to collision between stray cattle and vehicle drivers during the winter season due to fog, highways should be fenced at various places to prevent the entry of stray animals. Tying radium bands or reflectors on horns and necks of stray cattle that will make it easier for vehicle drivers to spot the cattle from a distance and prevent accidents. Gram panchayats should formulate ways to keep away stray cattle and impose fines on the owners who default. The organisers of animal fairs shall tag the cattle participating in fairs to prevent farmers from dumping their cattle. The government should fix responsibility of farmers and dairy owners who abandon infertile cows on roads, which is the main reason behind the rise in the population of stray cattle and fatal accidents, especially in the winter season.
Civic body should catch stray cattle
Accidents increase manifold due to stray cattle in winter season. Cattle often roam on roads and commuters fail to notice them due to dense fog. Studies have shown that India has the highest number of road accidents globally. The Municipal Corporation does not pay heed to this issue. It is imperative that the administration should catch and take stray cattle to gaushalas or forests.
Remove barricades from roadsides
I commute daily from Jalandhar to Beas. The Punjab Police have installed barricades for inspection of vehicles on the national highway at various places. However, these barricades do not have luminous markings and during dense fog they are not visible at all. If there is no check post being manned in the wee hours, cops should remove barricades and stack them at a distant place. Drivers of some private buses drive on the opposite direction. These buses are the biggest scare. Such such drivers should be dealt with sternly. During winter season, especially when there is dense fog, there is no sight of traffic police. Fear of a challan by cops would ensure some discipline on the roads. Moreover, as the national highway is being recarpeted, equipment is stacked on the roadside. The unmarked recarpeted patches make lane driving a difficult task.
Col VK Sharma (retd)
Spend cow cess for boosting infra
Fog generally adds to the woes of commuters, but stray animals lead to numerous road accidents, many of them resulting in loss of precious lives. A survey shows that approximately 10,000 accidents take place in the state due to stray animals, which claimed lives of 1,200 persons. Around 4,000 animals also lose die every year in such accidents. In the list of stray animals, cow tops the list. We do find many cow lovers, but in reality they do little to provide them shelter and fodder. Amritsar has two gaushalas — Lohgarh Gate and Ghee Mandi Gate — which are doing marvellous job in this regard. But due to financial crunch, their managements are unable to run them satisfactorily. To find a permanent solution to this problem, the state government imposed a cow cess with effect from 2016 to make 500 new gaushalas and to provide liberal grants to existing gaushalas. To date, more than Rs 540 crores have been collected under this head in the state, but not a single penny has been spent so far.
Harsh N Joha
What steps should be taken by the Health Department for administering Covid vaccine smoothly?
Suggestions in not more than 200 words can be sent to [email protected] by Thursday (December 31).
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