A pack of dogs is undermining the status of Delhi's international airport as a world-class terminal. Complaint boxes at the Delhi airport are overflowing with complaints of dogs bites from within the airport premises and passengers are now questioning its status as the world's best airport and ability to handle the situation. As many as 12 dog bites have been reported in the recent past.
Since January, airport authorities have received four complaints of dog bites on email. With no clear policy or regulations on handling wildlife in and around the airport, officials find their hands tied.
The private consortium, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), which manages the Delhi airport, wrote to the chief secretary of Delhi, recently, after it received a complaint from a young woman, who was bitten by a stray dog outside terminal three (T3), while she was waiting to receive her relatives.
"I came to receive my relative when I was attacked by a dog. It bit my hand. As a result, instead of receiving my relatives I had to rush to hospital. The incident ruined my entire night and caused mental trauma. How can an airport, which claimed to be world-class, tackle this menace?" she wrote in her complaint.
"The south Delhi municipal corporation relocated 21 dogs but they returned back again. According to a survey, there are at least 40 dogs in the vicinity of Delhi airport. T3 is creating a global image but the presence of dogs and other wildlife may seem mystifying to many tourists," DIAL wrote in its letter to the Delhi government. DIAL is yet to receive a reply from the Delhi government on the letter.
Although, the south Delhi municipal corporation often sterilises dogs near the airport, it doesn't offer passengers or officials any respite. "When a passenger is bitten by a dog, we cannot tell her or him that the dog was sterilised. The passenger immediately blames the airport staff and sometimes even threatens to sue us," an airport official said.
Availability of food waste outside the terminal is the major reason behind the presence of stray dogs. According to sources, DIAL recently held a meeting with the animal welfare board of India and is in touch with some NGOs to tackle the stray menace. "The problem is rampant but, unfortunately, we don't have control over it. Ultimately, the passenger suffers. The concerned stakeholders are working together to address the issue but the problem is quite deep routed," spokesperson for DIAL said.