The dog sterilisation programme launched by the municipal corporation (MC) has “completely failed” to check the rising number of stray dogs in the city, MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh admitted on Tuesday, as the issue rocked the civic body’s House meeting.
Taking note of the March 25 incident where a stray dog bit 13 people, including seven children, in Manimajra, Singh admitted that no proper drive was conducted in the past one year. But claimed that the MC was prepared to start the project anew at the newly constructed veterinary hospital in Sector 38 West from April 6.
Singh said the onus of dog sterilisation had been on two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) — People for Animals (PFA) and Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) – but while the former had no infrastructure at all, the SPCA was defunct for the past one year. He said the UT administration had now decided to take over the SPCA.
Talking about starting the project afresh, he said the MC had signed a memorandum of understanding with its counterpart at Udgir, Maharashtra, for running the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme in Chandigarh, and would start the sterilisation programme anew from April 6.
Singh claimed that nearly 450 dogs would be sterilised in a month as part of the project, adding that this time around, collars would be put around the necks of sterilised dogs.
When councillors stated that the MC had failed to spread awareness against feeding stray dogs Singh said, “We are also starting such programmes for public and have already erected signboards outside parks, cautioning people not to feed dogs. Also, MC is planning to install gates at parks, which cannot be easily opened by dogs, and to start with, we will have them installed in Sector 36.”
However, councillors retorted saying dogs could anyway jump over the wall.
Meanwhile, BJP councillor Satinder Singh criticised residents for feeding stray dogs that invited them to make a permanent habitat in residential areas.
Politics dominates house meeting
A major menace in Chandigarh, yet councillors could not prevent themselves from making the stray dog issue political at the House meeting.
Taking a dig at mayor Poonam Sharma, BJP councillor Arun Sood said she had done great work by helping the victims in Manimajra, but questioned why she woke up only after an incident and “slept throughout the year”.
Sood also accused Sharma of politicising the issue to which Sharma replied, “Why has been your member of Parliament Kirron Kher quiet on the issue till date?”
Sood also slammed the mayor for writing a letter to Maneka Gandhi, union minister for women and child development, “who has nothing to do with stray dogs”.
“On the one hand, you are threatening Gandhi to serve a legal notice on the issue and on the other you are also seeking compensation from her. Also, in your statements to media, you never mentioned the amendments you are seeking in the Animal Birth Control Act,” Sood said.
Reacting to the allegations, the mayor said, “Whom should I ask for help as ‘hamari MP aati nahi (our MP never comes to city)’ and why she is quiet till date. As far as writing to Maneka Gandhi is concerned, her NGO always interferes in such issues. She did it when she was not the minister also. I will not compromise with safety of public, and if required will also move court for help.”