‘Terror threat to eyesore’, Delhi airport officials want the dogs out

  • Mohit Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 11, 2016 16:12 IST
A stray dog on the Palam airport runway in New Delhi on Tuesday. The airport regulator says strays could be used in terror attacks. (VIirendra Singh Gosain/ HT File)

For a second time, the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) sought help from the south civic body to relocate stray dogs from the premises as they allegedly mar the aesthetics, threaten passenger safety and could be used in terror attacks.

“...their removal and proper relocation from the airport territory has become of prime importance keeping in mind, the general aesthetics, safety of passengers and foremost the security of the airport,” said the airport regulator’s letter dated August 1.

The Indira Gandhi International Airport has always battled strays. The national capital has no record of the total strays, but sources estimate it at 600,000. That would be a stray for every 30 people in the city.

Read more: Delhi dog census to rope in sanitation workers

South Delhi Municipal Corporation officials confirmed they got the letter from DIAL’s department of landside operations. “The municipal corporation has to follow the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001. These laws don’t allow us to relocate dogs under any circumstances,” said a senior municipal official.

He said the civic bodies were permitted only to sterilise dogs, keep them till they heal and then release them in the locality from which they were picked up.

“Since the matter concerns national security, we have sought advice from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI),” he said.

DIAL is yet to respond to HT’s queries.

In the wake of a terror attack on the Pathankot air force base in January, DIAL had written to SDMC about strays targeting passengers when they step out of Terminals 3 and 1.

Airport officials had then said it not only posed a threat to passenger safety, but also tarnished the image of the airport.

“When a passenger is bitten by a dog, we cannot tell him or her whether dog is sterilised or not. The passengers blame the airport staff and some even threaten to sue us,” an airport official had said.

“…a trend wherein dogs have been used to explode the explosive devices at public areas,” the letter said.

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