Friday, 4 March 2016

Pragmatic approach must to avoid social tension over stray cattle menace

Chandigarh, March 4: The problem of stray cattle that has multiplied manifold after the undeclared ban on export with truckers coming under attack has assumed alarming proportions with social tension rising, particularly in rural areas where the farmers now have to guard their standing crops. The cattle ponds coming up in all the districts in accordance with the policy adopted by the Parkash Singh Badal government in the state would go a long way in dealing with this problem, although not entirely.  The number of stray cattle continues to rise. Earlier, these cattle used to be sold to traders in other states dealing with skins and hides. It is the economy too that is affected.

Pragmatic approach must to avoid social tension over stray cattle menace

Significantly, Punjab is one state in which the members of Namdhari community sacrificed their lives for the protection of cow during the British regime and there is no parallel in the country.  The state being agriculturally the most advanced in the country, farming was dependent on ox, the progeny of cow and hence the reverence for this animal, not for its milk as such. Farm operations are now totally mechanized in Punjab and ox has now only come to be associated with races at rural sports.

The worry of the farmers is that a cattle herd can destroy  crops in hundreds of acres overnight, such is the increase in the numbers. After several cases of violence relating to attacks on trucks carrying stray animals, the truckers refuse to transport cattle, and rightly so. None knows as to what to do with these cattle that are of no use to anyone. In the absence of adequate arrangements with gaushalas and NGOs coming forward, the Badal government took the initiative of taking care of the stray cattle by setting up of cattle ponds. It is a matter of time before the arrangement is put in place in all the districts. But then this is a problem that can’t be tackled at the level of the state government only. It is the NGOs running gaushalas that would have to come forward not only in Punjab but in all the states where this problem is serious.

The farmers organisations are already taking up this issue at various levels as  it has very serious dimensions by way of increase in social tension resulting in law and order problem. The self-styled animal lovers are only adding to this problem by not coming up with any supporting arrangements.

It may be mentioned that Punjab is already witnessing several problems in the agrarian economy but it is the stray cattle that has the potential to emerge as one of the most alarming. It is the government at the centre that too would have to come forward.Unimaginative approach to stray dogs is already creating big problem everywhere. But then the Badal government must be complimented for  adopting pragmatic approach.

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