An 11-year-old girl was mauled and 12 others were bitten by a stray dog in Manimajra on Wednesday.
Worrisome enough to force the municipal corporation to act, the incident only elicited a blame-game between the councillors and officials.
Some children were playing in gali number 8, Shanti Nagar, when the stray dog attacked them around 11.30am. Later, the dog moved to New Darshani Bagh and attacked more residents, leaving six children and seven adults injured in all.
While the 11-year-old girl, whose identity could not be confirmed, was referred to Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) due to her critical condition, the other 12 victims were treated at the Sector-19 dispensary.
The incident has once again brought to fore municipal corporation’s indifference to this major menace that has gradually assumed dangerous proportions. Though the issue has been raised several times in various House meetings of the MC, the corporation is yet to find a conclusive solution to it.
“We have lodged several complaints with the area councillor, but in vain. The councillor only blames the MC officers for not performing their duty. The result is the attack on my daughter today. She received 15 stiches on her head,” said Ramraj, father of victim Laxmi, 10.
Sandhya, mother of another victim Piyush, 9, said, “My son was on the way to a nearby grocery shop, when the dog bit him on the hand. With the MC not taking any steps to control stray dogs, the only solution I see is to not send my children to play outside.”
Dr Parminder Singh Bhatti, medical officer health, MC, said, “We have caught the dog and kept it under observation. So far it hasn’t shown any symptoms of having rabies.”
City mayor Poonam Sharma, who visited the Sector-19 dispensary where some of the victims were admitted, said, “The incident is very unfortunate. But the civic body has performed its duty well in time and captured the dog for further action.”
She further said there was a dire need to amend the dog bylaws, including permission to put down dogs that were ferocious in nature.
MC under fire from high court too
In a hearing on February 24, the Punjab and Haryana high court had come down heavily on the corporation for not complying with the court orders in controlling the stray dog menace, but let it off for the last time to make the city stray-dog free.
During the hearing, advocate Ravi Kamal Gupta, appointed by the high court to assist a committee overseeing various programmes of the corporation to curb the stray dog menace, had informed the court that officials of the corporation, particularly Dr Parminder Singh Bhatti, medical officer, MC, had refused to cooperate.
He submitted that it was due to this reason that no meeting of the said committee could be held. Following this, the HC stopped short of initiating contempt of court proceedings against the civic body.
“Prima facie, it appears that this attitude of officials of the corporation borders on contempt of court. However, before initiating further proceedings, one opportunity is granted,” the HC had said.
Around 20-25 dog-bite cases are reported in Chandigarh daily, and children form majority of the victims.
But the alarming figures are yet to make the corporation wake up and act.