KATHMANDU: The population of stray cattle has gone up in the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake and this has been giving a hard time to drivers, pedestrians and vendors.
Taking advantage of the post-disaster situation, cattle owners, especially farmers and milkmen from the fringes of the Valley have been discarding cows, oxen, bulls and calves that are making their way into the Valley.
The stray cattle forage on the green belts, parks, traffic islands and garbage. Vegetable and fruit vendors are worried about stray cattle as they have become a nuisance.
Ram Khatri, 35, a vegetable vendor at Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market said, “The number of uninvited stray cattle has increased in the fruits and vegetables market after the quake. The cattle feed on green vegetables, fruits and discarded eatables. It is difficult to ward off these bovines. Besides, they already know that KFVM is a reliable source for food and return to the premises of the market when hungry.”
Cow owners usually discard their cattle once the animals stop giving milk. The male calves are driven away to the streets, whereas cows are kept till they mature because they produce milk. Mostly sick and injured cattle are discarded on the streets.
The stray cattle roam, rest and excrete on the streets and footpaths. They also obstruct traffic and pedestrian movement. These cattle disturb drivers in particular.
Lalu Baidya, 25, of Ramechhap, a driver of Nepal Yatayat on the Kalanki-New Buspark route, said, “They often cause traffic jams. While resting on the road, they simply refuse to budge, oblivious to continuous horn honking or heavy traffic. The risk of accidents has doubled due to the increasing number of stray cattle on the busy roads.”
Kathmandu Metropolitan City had temporarily stopped rescuing stray cattle, as the metropolis staff were busy in search and rescue efforts, debris management, relief distribution, demolition of seriously damaged houses and construction of shelters.
The farmers and milkmen from city fringes, including Godavari, Thankot, Bhaktapur, Banepa, Bhaisepati, Sundarijal, Kirtipur, Dakshinkaali, Chobhar and Balaju among other places, then seized the opportunity to let loose their cattle on the streets during nighttime.
Dhanapati Sapkota, Chief of KMC’s Enforcement and Implementation Department, said, “The cattle are driven away by hitting them with sticks but have not been rescued after the quake. The staff don’t have enough time to engage in caring for rescued cattle. There are more important matters at hand now than managing stray cattle and monitoring the owners of stray cattle in this hour of crisis.”
According to KMC, 338 stray animals were rescued in fiscal 2014-15. KMC had rescued 388 stray animals in 2013-14 and 422 in 2012-2013. KMC
has earned Rs 634,000 by selling rescued stray animals in districts like Kavre, Sindhupalchowk, Dhading, Makawanpur, Parsa, Bara, Rautahat and Sarlahi.