The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday granted two weeks to Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) to file its action-taken report and future plans to curb stray dog menace in the city.
Justice Rajan Gupta was hearing a petition filed by a Chandigarh resident, Gurmukh Singh, highlighting dog menace in the city and seeking directions to the authorities concerned to take effective steps to find a permanent solution.
Also, commenting over the non-government organisations (NGOs) raising issues of animal welfare, the court said, “Why can’t these NGOs adopt these dogs instead of filing litigations?” The court also told the senior standing counsel of Chandigarh administration that the administration could stop their grants if the NGOs did not work properly.
“Court has heard enough of arguments. This case can’t go on forever,” said justice Gupta, while making it clear to the MC to take serious steps to curb the dog menace. The court also made it clear to the MC joint commissioner Rajiv Kumar Gupta, present in the court, that the court might be constrained to pass orders against him if the matter was not taken seriously.
Nashik ‘Study’ Tour
While questioning the joint commissioner on the recent trip made by councillors and other corporation officials as ‘study tour’ to Nashik in Maharashtra, the court said, “Instead of assisting the court properly and taking concrete steps, you are roaming here and there. Every information is available on internet but you are taking the issue very lightly.”
The court added, “There are numerous examples of stray dog cases in the city on record. Now even a dog is leading the parade.” The court was referring to a photograph in a newspaper of a dog during the police parade on August 15 function at Sector-17 parade ground.
On being asked by the court, the joint commissioner replied that the corporation officials had taken a trip to Nashik by air and had stayed in private hotels. On this the court observed that it was misuse of public money.
However, UT’ senior standing counsel informed the court that the authorities were taking all possible steps to curb dog menace and as per a study, population of stray dogs in the city was around 8,700, and had the corporation not taken effective steps to sterilise/castrate dogs, the figure would have gone over 25,000.
Regarding the payment of compensation to be paid to the dog bite victims, the senior standing counsel informed that the Chandigarh administration was already providing anti-rabies vaccination at a subsidised rate of `100 and anti-rabies serum at subsidised cost of `50. However, he added that it also became responsibility of the citizens not to feed dogs.
The case would now come up for hearing on September 11.