Stray dogs in Kerala have bitten over hundred thousand people in the past one year.
To combat the menace, the state government spent Rs 12 crore to purchase anti-rabies vaccines in 2015, six times more than what it did a year earlier. These figures are part of the report submitted by Supreme Court-appointed panel headed by a retired high court judge Justice Siri Jagan. The panel also learnt that the government has dropped a dog bite vaccine from its essential list, making it difficult for the victims to purchase the drug due to its high-price.
The report added that the stray dog population in the state had shot upto 2.5 lakhs. It said that the Kerala Medical Services Corporation had spent only Rs 2.5 lakh on vaccines in stray dogs in the state Rs 12 crore is the amount Kerala spends to buy anti-rabies vaccines and serum Rs 2.75 core worth medicines was procured by Kerala in 2014-15. But the figure jumped owing to an increase in the number of cases. The amount, the panel said, is “significantly higher than what was allocated for the other essential drugs.”
According to Justicer Sirijagan panel the Medical Services Corporation had initially allocated Rs 7.25 crore in the annual budget. But, since the menace increased, the government granted an additional Rs 2 crore from the Plan Fund and another Rs 3 crore was sanctioned after a special Cabinet meet. The panel concluded the Kerala government has spent Rs 5 -7 crore annually on anti-rabies vaccines and serum “for the last few years.”
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra had on April 5 constituted the committee while hearing a petition filed by a Kerala resident demanding the State to reimburse the money he spent to treat his wife who suffered a dog bite. The petitioner’s counsel, VK Biju, contended the state was liable to compensate victims because it is the state’s responsibility to have a secure environment for its citizens.
In its two-and-a-half months of functioning, Justice Siri Jagan held detailed hearings with victims and also visited state-run hospitals. The panel concluded that menace is posing a danger to the public. Frequent dog attacks on children there have created a dangerous situation.
It was recommended that the state provide the medicine free of cost at all its hospitals.
• Over one lakh people suffered dog bites last year in Kerala
•The state has a stray dog population of 2.5 lakh
•State govt spent Rs 12 crore on purchase of anti-rabies vaccines/serum
•It’s a five-fold increase over the amount spent a year before
•The figures have been given by an SC-appointed panel
•The SC is hearing a petition by a man who wants Kerala to reimburse him money spent on his wife’s treatment for dog bite