For dog walkers in Hoshangabad, who are often embarrassed by their favourite pets cocking legs against a lamp post, a tree or a shrub, help is on its way.
Dogs in this Madhya Pradesh city soon will have toilets, thanks to a first-of-its-kind project undertaken by Hoshangabad municipality. The move aims to curb open defecation by the man’s best friend.
To begin with, the municipality has proposed to create three toilets for the canines under the Swachh Bharat Mission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship clean-India initiative.
Chief municipal officer (CMO) Pawan Kumar Singh said selection of land and preparation of design for the toilets have begun. Separate staff will be appointed for cleaning the toilets and they will be paid from the nominal fees to be charged from the patrons of the dogs, he told the HT.
“As many as 1500 households in the district have a dog. The names of the dog owners and the specific figures would be collected from animal husbandry department. Their names would be registered in municipality and ID number would be given to them,” said Hoshangabad municipality chairman Akhilesh Khandelwal.
Khndelwal also said that if the pet does the open defecation then it will be the responsibility of the dog’s patron to remove the waste. The non-compliance will make the owner liable for a fine.
Many corporators,however, feel the project will go to the dogs as people will not benefit from it.
Corporator Mahendra Yadav called it wastage of money. “The municipality should first construct enough toilets for people. There are so many other major problems. Even if these toilets come up, how will the municipality ensure stray dogs go there to relieve themselves,” he said.
When asked what actions will be taken for the stray dogs, CMO Singh said, “Action will soon be taken to remove stray dogs. For this we are now seeking help from non-governmental organisations.”
The municipality has also written a letter to police department urging it to construct toilets for police dogs.
It’s, however, not for the first time that the state is getting attention for a unique toilet project. Madhya Pradesh had hit headlines in September this year when Bhopal’s mayor Alok Sharma announced separate public rest rooms for third gender in the state capital.
(With inputs from Shailendra Kumar)