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Srinagar's dog rehab requires 312 acre land, Rs 900 cr

india Updated: Sep 11, 2011 00:14 IST

From attempts to sterilize male dogs and marking them with studs to hiring a 'pied piper' who charge Rs 20 crore to drive away dogs from Srinagar, the state continues to be dogged by the phenomenal rise in dog population, despite the high court intervention.

On Friday, the high court --- which directed the state municipal corporation (SMC) on August 15 to come up with dog pounds --- was surprised by the money drain the dog rehabilitation will have on the state.

According to the SMC, Rs 900 crore and 2,500 kanals (312.5 acre) of land is required to construct dog pounds. It will take Rs 98 crore annually to maintain dog pounds.

At present, there are more than 10 lakh dogs in the valley, while Srinagar's human population stands at 14-17 lakh officially. The figures may cross the human population in a couple of years if not checked.

The court observed that catching dogs is necessary because, otherwise, they will be stoned to death. The division bench has asked the SMC to go ahead with Shuhama dog pond, situated on the city outskirts. It, however, stopped construction of similar pound at Khimber area after protests and objections by the locals.

Petitioner counsel Nadeem Qadri, however, accused the SMC of exaggerating the cost estimate to "scuttle" dog trapping exercise. "J-K does not have to construct five star hotels for dogs. Pounds are simple shelters," Qadri argued in the court.

Past exercises

*The SMC arranged to train their staff in the art of catching stray dogs from a US team in Feb this year.

*Khursheed Ahmad Mir (54), an agriculture graduate, who claimed to be a pied piper with scientific technology was roped in March, 2011 but charged Rs 20 crore. The experiment was shelved.

*In a separate initiative planned to sterilize male dogs and marking them with studs to avoid confusion. The SMC then submitted Rs 4.5-crore project before the Animal Welfare Board, Government of India, for expert advice and funds for scientific sterilization of dogs.

Officially, there have been about 25,000 bites in last five years. The SMC intends to construct 1800 pounds with a capacity of 50 canines. Two pounds on a pilot basis have already come up at the cost of Rs one crore.

The corporation is constructing pounds with the help of Sher-i-Kashmir Agriculture University of Science and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). "Males and females will be kept in separate compartments to avoid any mating till they get sterilized," said a senior SMC on condition of anonymity.

Impounding dogs

*1800 pounds with a capacity of 50 canines in each pound.

*2,500 kanals required with expenditure of Rs 98 cr per year on dog care.

*Pounds will be equipped with separate kennels for males and females.

*Impounded dogs will be looked by 'Dog Caretakers', who will take care of 25 dogs.