KATHMANDU, June 26: On June 14, at about 3:30 in the morning, Kiran Shrestha, 18, and Sundar Khadka, 21, were travelling on a motorbike from Thimi to Sallaghari when they suddenly encountered a cow lying prostrate in the middle of the road. Shrestha tried to steer the bike to a safer side of the road, and in the process met with an accident that claimed his life on the spot. Khadka, on the other hand, was rushed to a hospital and lived to tell the story.
This was not the first time that a stray cattle had caused a road accident in Bhaktapur, but it was the first ever accident of its type to claim a life.
Although stray cattle invading the roads of Bhaktapur has been a source of road accidents and traffic jams for a long time, the authorities concerned have shown indifference to the management of such animals. Officials from Bhaktapur Municipality Office claim that they are unable to address the problem.
According to Dilip Kumar Suwal, an official responsible for the monitoring of the city, the municipality has not been able to take any meaningful step for the management of stray cattle. “We have not been able to do anything except shooing the animals away,” he said, “Neither do we have the legal right to transport them away from the valley, nor have we any idea of where to dispose them.”
Suwal added that although the Mmayor of the municipality has informed about the problem, no visible steps have been taken to manage the stray cattle. “Even though we have brought up the problem to the mayor, proper plans have not been made to address the problem,” said Suwal.
Nirakar Shrestha, a local, said that people have been dealing with the problem of stray cattle causing traffic jams, and are questioning the municipality's role in the management of such animals. “We have problem travelling on our vehicles especially during the night,” he added, “The municipality or the police have not done anything to help us. Have they turned a blind eye to this problem?”
Nepal Police, however, claims that they have already started initiatives to address the problem. Spokesman for the Bhaktapur Division of Metropolitan Traffic Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police Rewati Raman Pokharel said that a work plan has been formed to tackle the problem. “We have initiated 'Jam-free, Accident-free Bhaktapur' program to address the problem,” Pokharel said, adding, “Two days ago, we transported some stray animals in our trucks to a place about 50 kilometers away from the valley in coordination with the District Security Committee.”
He added that it will be very difficult to address the problem without proper coordination between the police and the municipality.