The stray cow problem is now spilling on to Uttar Pradesh’s showpiece Agra-Lucknow expressway, with the Yogi Adityanath government deciding to double the height of the crash barriers on both sides of the 302-km-long road to stop cattle from entering the e-way, causing deaths due to accidents.
There have been repeated accidents on the expressway involving stray cattle, with many speeding cars crashing into the bovines, killing commuters as well as animals. The UP Expressways Authority has now approved the proposal to double the height of the crash barrier at its last board meeting in December.
On Thursday, a herd of cows had entered the expressway near Kannauj, promoting the authorities to warn commuters to drive slowly causing a brief traffic disruption before officials could chase away the cows from the road.
Sources said cows were either entering the expressway through gaps where the crash barrier had been breached by locals to let loose the cows, or the bovines were simply jumping over the existing crash barrier given its low height.
“An extra channel and metal beam will be installed on the crash barrier across the entire expressway to double its height,” a senior UP official told ET.
The UP government also plans to hire an agency to monitor breaching of the crash barrier and removal of carcass in the least possible time in case of an accident. The plan involves deployment of teams by the agency to catch stray animals on the expressway and hand them over to cow shelters.
The government, as per a proposal, plans to pay a lump sum amount per month for the monitoring and pay an extra amount for catching stray animals on the expressway, including Rs 2,000 for each cow or a buffalo. Those found breaching the expressway crash barriers to help the cows gain access to the road are to be reported to the police by the agency. The Agra-Lucknow Expressway passes through various districts of the rural heartland of UP where the stray cattle problem is said to be at its worst, officials told ET.
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