To curb the menace of stray cattle, mostly cows, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has developed a system of ear-tagging such animals and linking it with the cattle owners' Aadhaar numbers.
It helps the SMC to identify, trace and penalize the owners for letting their cattle wander on the streets and cause inconvenience to people and traffic, an SMC official said.
Surat uses Aadhaar to deal with stray cattle
How does the cattle ear-tagging system work?
Each ear tag carries a Cattle Registration Number (CRN) linked with the cattle owner's Aadhaar number.
The Surat civic body has so far pinned plastic tags with serial numbers to the ears of around 25,000 stray animals across the city and linked them with the Aadhaar numbers of around 1,500 cattle owners, Market Superintendent of SMC, Dr. Praful Mehta, said.
Nuisance has grown as city limits expanded: Mehta
"We have created a computerized database of around 25,000 such stray animals. Since the city limits have expanded, this nuisance has grown. I think we are yet to register another 25,000 such stray cattle," Mehta said.
Using the number tagged on the ears of the bovines, authorities can trace their owners easily, as the latter's phone number and address are registered in the database.
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Cattle owners don't come voluntarily to get animals ear-tagged: Mehta
"Cattle owners do not come to us voluntarily to get their animals ear-tagged. Whenever we catch a stray animal, we ear-tag it and give a CRN," Mehta said.
"When the owner comes to collect his cattle, we register his (Aadhaar) details and link it with the CRN. If he does not have Aadhaar, we use other documents, such as the driving license," he added.
SMC impounds 70 stray cattle each day
Presently, the SMC impounds 70 stray cattle each day on average from different parts of the city.
The SMC also imposes a fine of Rs. 1,800 for the first day - Rs. 200 for the ear tagging of each impounded bovine, Rs. 1,000 towards cattle impound fee (one-time charge), and Rs. 650 each day towards administrative and maintenance charges, the official said.
Penalty for allowing cattle to stray on the streets
Police also book the owners under IPC Section 289 (negligent conduct with respect to animals) and section 90 (a) of the Bombay Police Act, which deals with penalty for allowing their cattle to stray on the streets.
The ear-tagging system was launched recently and it would eventually deter cattle owners from letting their cows and other animals from straying on the streets, Mehta said.
Other major cities show interest in CRN system: Mehta
"We do not release the cattle if the owner is caught for the fourth time. The fine increases with every offense. Since we now know the history of offenses, the owners are cautious about not repeating it," said Mehta.
Civic authorities of other major cities, including Ahmedabad and Rajkot, have shown interest in this system and sought details from the SMC, he added.