TiTs & BiTs (014)
On Stray Cattle and Stray Dogs.
The Mapusa Citizen’s Action Union , lovingly called MCAU ( as in MACAO, the Portuguese Colony in the far East), a group of committed Mapusa citizens, headed by Dr. Bonny Pereira, is ceased of the problem of tackling the stray cattle, if not the stray dogs, in the city of Mapusa. In one of the Union’s recent weekly (Wednesday’s) meets, where I happened to be the uninvited guest, Dr. Pereira voiced his preoccupation with this stray cattle problem, which, in his own words , was occupying public roads, Mapusa market and every garbage bin in town. He cautioned the more effervescent (like myself) that we should not be harsh on our CM, Manohar Parrikar, who, he said, means well and understands our problems and is in a tearing hurry to help. He confided that the Urban Development Minister Mr. Digambar Kamat too, is looking for a few street-smart bovine daring, brave men who could be put to good use, specially in Margao, which happens to be Mr. Kamat’s darling constituency and which he has to nurse, also in a tearing hurry.
I put my hand up immediately to say that I should be counted in as Numero Uno for the Mapusa job. That I should be given atleast a week’s time to sort things out, like, opening a new private Mapusa Meat Complex, a hot iron smithy, a cattle pound at the site where India’s most famous circuses park themselves. And, I went on further, to explain as to how I would go about my business.
I would give the owners of the straying cattle just one week to take stock of their pets and make permanent parking arrangements for them within or without their house premises. This would be facilitated by the homework that the Mapusa police and the Mapusa Municipal Council would be required to do by brushing up with their lessons from the IPC and the Municipal Act, respectively, concerning how to take care of the strays on city roads and its market places.
Then, after the one week’s grace period was over, I would take charge of all the free moving meats , including the prized VEAL, by putting it in the cattle pound. Owners would get just 2 days to stake claim to their pets not before they had experienced a very hard pinch of Rs. 2000.00 per head (big of small) on their pockets, along with their pets which would get the feel of the hot iron to tie them to the respective owner. The rest, unclaimed, would get the hot iron mark of “OU” (Owner Unknown). Come next day, the Mapusa Meat Complex would be a roaring business, specially when our Mapusa fish market is expected to experience the imminent fish famine, and , in which case, the chronic fish eaters could change over to fresh beef.
And to add a little incentive to the whole thing, I suggested we make it a “Mapusa Co-operative Meat Complex” specially for the sake of those straying cattle owners who do not want them anymore and who do not know how to get rid of them. For they could become the share holders in the meat complex project and gain from the cattle they did’nt want.
“Why only Mapusa?” chipped-in someone in the background. “Let us make it the All Goa Co-Operative Meat Complex” . “There is a lot of meat in Bicholim, Ponda, Panjim, Vasco & Margao taken together. And when that is over, we can go to the hinterland like Moira, Khorlim etc. We should have enough fresh stock all year round for the next 10 years”.
“Well” , I said. “So be it. Atleast, the beef eaters will be away from the half rotten beef that is perpetually hanging in the meat stalls in the Mapusa market during the day and which is stuffed into the un-connected to electricity - freezer boxes with a sprinkling of broken ice for the night, a preservation process that would be the envy of the developed world and the United Nation's "WHO”
“You are brilliant” said another. “ But then, you have forgotten one thing” “What happens to the owner identified heads which will be inevitably coming back to mess up our streets, roads, footpaths, entrances of our buildings and the market?
“That too comes under the comprehensive plan” I said. “That way, we get our garbage cleared from our uncleared and uncared for garbage bins for free, and, at the same time we get Rs. 2000/- per day per head from the owners until these few resilient owners too voluntarily become the All Goa Meat Complex’s share holders and gift their pets to the meat complex. This way, nobody loses and everybody gains.
“Okay”, said another. “But we still have the Stray Dogs problem. Any bright ideas on that too, so that advocate Aires Rodrigues of Ribandar gets some good night’s sleep?”
“No problem on that” I said. “The bullets that were meant for the stray dogs have been lying idle, perhaps useless, thanks to the High Court and the stray dog lovers, (who happen to be imported into Goa from England and elsewhere) and which the Margao Municipal Council of Mr. Digamber Kamat is even trying to sell for a profit. Moreover, the stray dogs do have to eat. Therefore, they should not mind doing a little bit of work of rounding-up the stray cattle, given a little training, for a good healthy , once a day feed at the cost of the meat co-operative. Besides, who would want to depend on the cattle daring, cattle braving matadors , who in any case, are difficult to find in Goa and would have to be imported from Spain?. However, importing matadors from Spain would be a viable proposition if the stray dogs refused to budge. In any case, even the matadors in Spain are believed to be looking for job openings elsewhere”
Not to be left out, a guy who was sitting quiet all this while shot up with his query . “Mr. Lobo, can you answer my small question?” he asked.
“Why not? Be my guest” I said.
“Well” he said “All your bright ideas are meant to do the job which the members of the Municipal Council of Mapusa should be doing in the first place, they, having worked very hard in getting themselves elected to do social service. All that will remain for them to do is to collect the HAFTA from the hawkers who are flooding our Mapusa market in droves, each week”
“Atleast they can do that in peace, without the cattle and the dogs interfering ” I said “Besides, we will have cleared the streets of Mapuca for our dear Mapusa Municipal Chairman Mr. Crasto, to show-off with his new 9 lacs worth HONDA CITY which demands CATTLE and DOG free streets at the least”