With no catchers, snakes have free reign in City
INDORE APPEARS to have joined Ireland as the only snake-less city in the world. But while the Emerald Isle is said to have lost its reptile population after St Patrick charmed them into the sea, in Indore the reason is more prosaic - the district administration has merely closed its eyes to their presence.india Updated: Jul 11, 2006 22:47 IST
INDORE APPEARS to have joined Ireland as the only snake-less city in the world. But while the Emerald Isle is said to have lost its reptile population after St Patrick charmed them into the sea, in Indore the reason is more prosaic - the district administration has merely closed its eyes to their presence.
With the arrival of the monsoon increasing numbers of reptiles are emerging from their subterranean dwellings. Neither the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) nor the fire department or, indeed, any other government agency is, however, equipped to deal with the reptilian emergencies. Over a dozen cases of snakes entering houses have been reported during the last fortnight.
However, frantic calls to the IMC and fire department after a snake is sighted elicit a stock reply - we cannot help, as no snake-catchers are available. Though no assistance is forthcoming from the administration, the residents cannot tackle the threat themselves as killing snakes is banned.
The situation is made worse by the absence of traditional snake-catching communities like Kalbelias. Community members earlier lived on the edge of townships and in City slums. Soaring real estate prices have, however, pushed them to the furthest limits of the City and they are rarely available in case of an emergency.
“It is a pathetic situation,” says M S Solanki who spent a harrowing four hours after a ‘five-feet long’ snake sneaked into his Chandra Nagar residence. “My daughter-in-law was alone in the house with her two-year-old child when she sighted the snake.
Terrified, she called me up. I rushed home but by then the snake had slithered away,” says the sexagenarian. Solanki says over the next few hours he called the IMC, the fire department and even the Kamla Nehru Zoo for help but got nowhere. “The IMC asked me to get in touch with zoo officials. But they said their sole snake catcher had retired last year and was yet to be replaced,” he added ruefully.
“Both me and my tenant have toddlers in the house. Can you imagine the stress of knowing there is a snake nearby that might attack the kids at any moment but being unable to do anything? ”
Desperate, Solanki finally contacted an acquaintance working in a newspaper, who called the cops and a constable from Tejaji Nagar police station was dispatched to Solanki’s house with two Kalbelias from Sanpera Colony five hours after the snake sighting.
By then, however, there was no sign of the reptile. “They left after lighting a few dhoop battis and chanting mantras,” Solanki informed.
When contacted zoo in-charge Dr Ramakant Shukla said he didn’t know about whether a snake catcher was available as he “assumed charge only a fortnight ago”.