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The plight of stray cattle along with the threat they pose to city motorists has made Delhi high court take up the matter on an urgent basis.

Reviving a long pending petition on illegal dairies & stray cattle wandering the streets, the HC has asked chief secretary of Delhi government to take immediate measures.

A bench of justices G S Sistani & Jyoti Singh, in a recent order, directed the government to take stock of the problem of stray cattle & address it within a fixed time frame, “keeping the urgency & objective in mind & not to postpone or defer the issue.”

The court noted that its intervention is needed not only for the rights of animals, but also to safeguard the rights of the citizen. It underlined that “stray cattle on road lead to traffic problems & more often than not, two-wheelers face the brunt. Especially at night, the chances of accidents are higher, along with the possibility of injury to the cattle.”

HC further observed that when cattle are left stray on the roads or are not kept in proper hygienic conditions in dairies, insanitary conditions & diseases rise. This may worsen during the monsoon as chances of waterborne diseases also go up.

The bench made it clear that the government, civic agencies & other departments must take “serious steps so that the citizens can live in a cleaner city & the cattle be kept in hygienic conditions & are better looked after. The roads will undoubtedly be free of obstruction & traffic jams & the accidents would be minimised.”

The court directions came while hearing a batch of petitions, including one by activist Gauri Maulekhi, highlighting that stray cattle roaming the city streets for want of food sometimes end up consuming garbage, which has harmful materials, including plastic. Another plea raised the issue of illegal dairies running in parts of the city & wanted HC’s directions to close them so that the cattle are impounded & rehabilitated in government-run cattle sheds.

Last year HC had ordered the chief secretary to meet decision makers of Delhi Development Authority, Animal Husbandry Department, Urban Development Department, the three municipal corporations of Delhi & other stakeholders to chalk out a plan to remove the stray cattle.

The court said it intends to monitor progress by the authorities on this front & asked the CS to call a meeting where timelines can be fixed to solve the issues flagged by HC & the petitioners. It also ordered that Maulekhi be made a part of the deliberations.


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