Patiala’s sterilisation programme has landed in a soup as the municipal corporation has revoked its recent contract awarded to a Dehradun-based NGO Endangered Wildlife Society for sterilising 2,000 dogs after Union minister Maneka Gandhi questioned the agency’s credibility. The NGO was yet to start the operation.
It is for the second time in the last one month that Gandhi directly reached out to local officers. On July 29, a case was filed against six people after she raised the matter with the local police on how the accused injured two female dogs and allegedly threw puppies at unknown place in a beg.
MC commissioner PS Gill told HT that the work order that was awarded to the society in July has been canceled after his staff showed him the minister’s email stating that she had got the NGO banned due to its faulty functioning.
“A fresh tender has now been called to find a new agency and hopefully the contract will be awarded in a fortnight,” he informed.
Her reservation against the NGO is not new. As the agency was employed for sterilising dogs last year too, she shot off a letter to Patiala divisional commissioner alleging that its sterilisation programme was being carried out without following proper procedure.
Even as the NGO was allowed to continue under strict vigil till expiry of the contract in December last year, it was back in business when it recently won the contract due to its lowest financial bid in response to MC’s tender in June.
Gill said that in the fresh tender, they have added additional norms that required an agency to be duly recognised and should take care of proper rules under ABC programme.
Meanwhile, amid this standoff, the much-needed dog sterilisation is what held up in the city for the last eight months now, as MC has failed to renew the contract that expired in December last year
Last year, nearly 4,000 dog biting cases were treated in government hospitals.
Local experts said that unless the project is not made a mass movement in Patiala, things will not improve.
The city, it is learnt, has roughly a dog population of 6,000-7,000 and their rising population cannot be stabilised unless a minimum of 70-80% of them are sterilised in one go.
In the absence of remedial measures, there are instances where residents killed dogs to tackle the menace.
For instance, in March, Inderjit Singh of Urban Estate had opened fire at stray dogs in a bid to protect his four-year-old daughter who was allegedly attacked by the canines.