Feeder passes to feed strays come as a relief amid lockdown
When news of curfew was announced, confusions regarding feeding of stray animals started doing the rounds. With a restriction on movement, NGOs, shelter homes and volunteers became worried about the fate of the animals. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi requested people to take care of any such animals, and his efforts were consolidated by MP and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi who announced that dog feeders can now get feeder passes. The application can be made either online or at the respective DCP’s office.
“I applied for the feeder pass online and got it through the District Magistrate. I was given a number on Whatsapp according to the district I fall under and had to send my details there. And that was it! It was a smooth process. But going to the DCP’s office was a pain. I thought I will apply for it both ways, but had to wait for three hours. I had to stand in the line and there were more chances of infection. There were about 300-400 people. You have to wait to get a form, then again get in the queue to submit the form, and collect the pass the next day. They (the authorities) are not to blame because they are processing a lot of applications,” says Vikash Aggarwal who lives in Delhi Cantonment and goes to central areas including Safdarjung Road, Chanakyapuri to feed strays.
Basic precautions, such as carrying sanitisers and wearing a mask, in place, some of these volunteers are also feeding strays locally and keeping it low profile. “I live in NOIDA sector 45 and some of us have spoken to the SHO here. He told us we can feed the strays here but to not do so in groups. The authorities recognise the regulars and according to the local police station, we can do without the feeder pass,” says NOIDA-based business owner Deepak Saxena.
Feeder pass or no, people are finding ways to feed strays, either by showing notices circulated by the concerned authorities or by working on the goodwill of the police. “The DM has told some people that if you have food in your car and you are going to feed, no one is going to stop you. We also have a letter from the Chief Secretary’s office, UP, that says the police should help those who are out to feed stray animals,” says Anuradha Dogra a NOIDA resident, who was previously associated with SPCA before it shut down and was taken over by the UP government as Animal Hospital and Shelter, NOIDA.
“I got a curfew pass because my NGO is in Gurgaon and I live in Saket. I went to the DCP office in Vasant Vihar where they have put up a counter to collect the form. I submitted some documents including the RC and driving license. I got the pass the next day and have no difficulty in going out and feeding strays,” says Divya Parthasarathy.
With problem of feeding sorted, the problem with transportation still remains an issue. “Our supplier has his store in Vaishali, Ghaziabad and is able to transport it only once a week. How much ration can we store in our houses? Secondly, our volunteers are going out feeding on cycles but even their movement is restricted,” says Delhi-based professor, Renu Malaviya.
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