Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Urban Planning Creates Moo-ving Experience


New Delhi : City officials finally got so frustrated with Delhi’s cattle population – 35,000 cows and buffalo – the High Court decided to do something about rounding them up and moving them to greener pastures.

This is a tricky thing to attempt in a city populated by devout Hindus-who hold cows in reverence, and who have been known to riot if anyone harms a cow. The cows, which wander in front of traffic at will , get harmed a lot; as do the drivers unlucky enough to hit them.

The High Court ordered city authorities to offer a 2000 Rupee ($ 46 – about a week’s wages for a blue collar worker ) bounty to anyone willing to capture one of the beasts and conduct it (ever so gently,if you please !) to a state shelter – from whence it would be relocated to more suitable surroundings.

Within days, the city was in chaos, as bounty hunters –mounted on motorbikes and carrying switches – competed with one another – and with oncoming traffic to herd as many animals as possible. Traffic was at a standstill,tempers were frayed, and near-riot conditions prevailed.

To make matters worse, nobody had bothered to notify the shelter operators,and they were quickly flooded with far more cattle than they could handle; while unruly mobs of herders demanded their bounty money.

I’d be almost willing to bet this "bounty-ful" effort at urban renewal will result
in new herds of cattle being driven into the city by enterprising and unscrupulous bounty hunters ; and that Delhi will soon have a LOT more cows than it started with !

(No takers on THAT bet, I guess ! )

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