Even as dog-bite cases in Chandigarh peak — more than 30 reported from Sectors 20 and 22 in the past few days — the municipal corporation has failed to put a leash on the menace of stray dogs. No one willing to take responsibility, the usual blame game has begun with the councillors pointing fingers towards the officers.
Though a dog-catching drive was held in Sector 20 on Thursday, MC’s complaint lines did not work through the day.
Officials whose mobile numbers are given as MC’s complaint lines fail to respond. As HT dialed Dr MS Kamboj at 9872511260 and Vikram Singh, the designated dog-catcher, at 9915711485, calls went unanswered through the day. MC data puts the population of stray dogs around 8,000. Killing the dogs is banned in India, but nominated councillor Major DS Sandhu (retd) alleges that the MC’s officers are to be blamed for the menace growing to rabid proportions: “Officers do not understand the gravity of the situation.
I believe it is one of the most serious issues for the city.” BJP councillor Rajesh Gupta said social organisations assigned the job of sterilisation of dogs to control population — People for Animals (PFA) and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) — “are a complete failure”.
Dr Shyam Bansal, who runs a clinic in Sector 47, said, “For the past 10 days, at least 15 dogbite cases have been reported from nearby areas. I suggest the MC should provide two sheds on the city’s outskirts for male and female dogs. They should also put collars to identify sterilised dogs.”
When contacted, MC joint commissioner Rajeev Gupta only said, “We are trying our best. In the past three years, no rabies case has been reported in the city.”
Meanwhi l e, the dog that bit 20 people in Sector 20A on Thursday, died at the shelter of the SPCA in Sector 38. The reason was not immediately confirmed; the dog had been thrashed badly by the residents, though the sequence of events also suggests it may have had rabies. The victims have received treatment already.
COMMISSIONER IN COURT
MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh failed to answer queries of the high court even on Thursday. In an ongoing case, the HC had on May 5 asked the corporation to reply on whether it could come up with shelters for stray dogs. On May 7, when Singh was present in the court, the court said the MC should have some policy provision to compensate victims of stray dogs, and gave it a day to clarify its stand. Singh, on Thursday, sought one more day.