Tackling stray cattle menace was never going to be easy but Calangute panchayat has led the way by impounding 100 stray cattles along the coastal belt within 22 days. The impounded cattle has been relocated to the Shikeri gaushala where they get food, shelter and even medical attention if need be. Calangute Panchayat has tied-up with the Mayem based NGO, Gomantak Govsevak Mahasangh to catch stray cattle from all roads, beaches and public places within its jurisdiction. The drive to seize the stray cattle began on October 2 and has actually begun yielding results as fewer cattle are noticed on roads now. Former Calangute Sarpanch, Shawn Martins said the decision has received good response from the public as a lot of people have been calling up to inform them of any stray cattle. “The NGO responsible to impound the cattle is a very dedicated lot who are passionate about cows. They work in the night and seize the cattle between 11 pm to 4 am. If government supports such NGOs then stray cattle menace can be tackled with serious intent,” said Martins who has recently resigned as sarpanch to make way for another colleague to take over the reins of the panchayat. Several locals said that tackling stray cattle menace along the popular coastal village was long overdue and appreciated the initiative taken by the panchayat. “It’s a good initiative and has definitely created an impact. There is less cattle on roads now and secondly, owners of the cattle have become aware and are probably keeping their cows tied inside,” said Gurudas Shirodkar, a resident of Calangute. He, however, raised concern on handling of the cattle while they were being caught as the NGO did not have adequate infrastructure to lift them and put them inside the vehicle.
But all is not hunky dory in the exercise of tackling the stray cattle menace in the village, as only two persons have come forward to lay claim over the impounded cattle. “One person has staked claim on seven cows while another person who has come forward has claimed ownership of one cow,” said Kamlakant Tari, President of Gomantak Govsevak Mahasangh. He said the owner who lays claim on his cattle has to first make an application to the local panchayat and then carry out verification of the cattle with the local veterinarian. “The claim has to be made before the Director of Animal Husbandry and after paying appropriate fine with the directorate the owner is allowed to take his cow home,” Tari said. According to the guashala president, besides Calangute, Aldona, Mayem, Shirgao, Penha de France, Moira, Pomburpa, Nachinola, Bastora, Candolim, Arpora and Parra has also signed a memorandum of understanding with them. “Land is not a problem for us. We have around eight sheds now. But we will soon need more and for that we need funds,” he said. He had a word of praise for former Calangute sarpanch, Shawn Martins who along with the local MLA, Michael Lobo has shown keen interest to lift the cattle from the beach belt.