Herds of stray cows, goats, buffaloes, and other animals on the highways is a matter of serious concern as they cause major fatal road accidents.
Herds of stray cows and goats are often responsible for major road mishaps in the country and the scenario in Assam is no different.
And on top of that bad roads, inadequately lit thoroughfares and drunken driving are other major reasons for high road accidents in the state.
However, when The Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021, was passed as an act earlier this year, it was presumed that apart from the illegal slaughtering and selling of cattle, it will also bring some respite for the homeless cattle and they would be provided shelter by the government and their numbers would decrease from the streets and the accidents caused because of them would go down.
However, this is far from reality!
Stray cows on the highway now pose a serious threat to the motorists in the Bajali district of Assam and even after several accidents the authorities concerned have not initiated any step to shift these animals away from the highway to a safe shelter.
Moreover, the Bajali public has also urged the authorities to take stringent action against cattle owners for letting their livestock occupy public roads.
"Some cattle are ownerless while some are left by the owners to occupy public space. As the highway is not properly lit, hence, it gets dangerous to drive after sunset as from nowhere these animals come in front and this has led to several fatal accidents in the recent past," informed a Bajali local.
Noted social worker of the area, Giridhar Choudhary, while speaking to this correspondent said, "Cows should be on the fields and not on National Highways. People should look into the matter."
"Winter is just a couple of months away and there is a lot of fog during the season. This makes night travel even more dangerous and due to poor visibility, often vehicles hit these straying animals leading to fatal accidents," he added.
"In most accidents, the two-wheelers and three-wheelers are the worst-affected. I have witnessed such an accident on Pathsala NH-31. Several cows also died in the accident," he added.
Preservation of cattle should not come only in terms of meat consumption, it should also look into this aspect and the straying cows must be offered safer shelters.
The matter of stray cows on the highways should be addressed with all seriousness by the government- not just in the state but also at the Centre.