While the employees of Punjab government have managed to get some relief after staging agitations, horses and dogs of Punjab Police continue to suffer due to the poor fiscal health of the state exchequer.
The state government, which opted to mortgage properties to raise a loan, allegedly to fulfill compulsory financial commitments, like salaries and pension of its employees, appears to have tried to practice 'austerity' by reducing expenditure on feeding the animals.
An HT investigation revealed that the Punjab Armed Police's stud farm, which breeds pedigreed horses, and the Phillaur Police Academy (PPA), which runs a training centre for sniffer dogs, did not get any funds over the past six months.
The stud farm has 45 horses, which are used by mounted police, deployed to control mobs whenever there is any tension in the city. However, the state did not give funds to feed and maintain the health of these horses.
PAP officials disclosed that feeding one horse per day cost around Rs. 250; and more than Rs. 21 lakh were due for six months from the state exchequer.
On the condition of anonymity, a senior official of the state police told HT that for the past several months, apart from salaries and pension, no other expenses were being reimbursed by the treasurer.
Additional director general of police (ADGP-PAP) Gurdev Singh Sahota claimed, “We are feeding every horse properly, as you can see for yourself.”
Asked about the non-payment of funds for feeding the horses, the ADGP said, “I do not want to comment on it. I assure you that there is no dearth of resources to feed horses, which we have generated at our own level.”
The state government did not release funds for the dog training centre either, where more than 45 dogs are being trained.
Sources at PPA disclosed that arrangements had been made to get funds for feeding dogs from the district police, where the dogs were deployed.
“For each dog, daily feeding costs about Rs. 100 to Rs. 150 per day, we get funds from the districts where these dogs are deployed, on a monthly basis,” said assistant sub-inspector Vikas, a dog trainer at PPA.
Per horse per day Rs. 250
Per horse per year Rs. 90,000
45 horses per year Rs. 40.5 lakh
Per dog per day Rs. 100 to Rs. 150
Per dog per year Rs. 54,000
45 dogs per year Rs. 24.3 lakh