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Animals at Noida shelter suffer amid NGO, authority tiff

After the scrapping of the contract, all members of the NGO had volunteered to work at the shelter.

noida Updated: Sep 25, 2017 21:55 IST
Vaibhav Jha
Vaibhav Jha
Hindustan Times
Noida Authority,Noida Sector 94,animal shelter
Dogs at Noida Shelter for animals.(Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)

Nearly 1,000 odd animals at Noida’s shelter for stray and injured animals stand to lose the most due to an ongoing tiff between the Noida authority and the volunteers of the animal shelter.

The animal shelter in Noida Sector 94 has once again been affected by financial crunch as the authority has withheld the salaries of the employees at the shelter for the past three months. The staff allege that due to lack of funds, they have not been able to buy medicines and food for the animals. Currently, the shelter has around 700 dogs and 300 cows, bulls, horses and donkeys.

“There are 450 injured dogs in our shelter who need treatment on daily basis. Our ambulance is not working for the past 4-5 days since we cannot afford for the diesel. We had four animal ambulances but now only one is functioning. We have been affording food for animals till now through donation but it is also finishing up quickly. Our priority is food and medicines for the animals,” said Vidhi Shukla, in charge, animal shelter.

Earlier, the shelter for stray and injured animals was known as society for prevention of cruelty against animals (SPCA), which was a non-government organisation working in Noida through third party contract by Noida Authority. In January, the employees of the organisation had raised hue and cry after their salaries were withheld by authority citing complaints received against SPCA regarding functioning of the shelter. In February, the authority released a onetime fund of ₹20 lakh for the shelter.

The contract between the authority and SPCA ended in June this year, due to an order issued by the Uttar Pradesh government in April, 2017. After the scrapping of the contract, all members of the NGO had volunteered to work at the shelter.

The staff of animal shelter allege that they have not received the salary of July, August and September till now, which has affected the condition of stray and injured animals.

“We just received the salary of June month in September. We have total staff strength of 54 which include cleaners, para-medics, drivers, helps and in-charge persons. All of us have not being paid from July,” said Vidhi Shukla, in-charge, Animal Shelter, Noida.

Shukla further claims that to run the shelter, an amount of ‘₹16 lakh-₹lakh’ is needed on monthly basis. According to sources in the authority, the high amount demanded by NGO had become a bone of contention between the two and was often the reason behind the former withholding salary.

“The entire cost which comes every month to run this shelter is somewhere around ₹16-20 lakh which include food, medicines and staff salary. Even 54 people strong staff is not sufficient for the number of animals we have since it takes 4-5 people in order to manage one dog. We have been running this shelter for the past 10 years,” said Shukla.

When Hindustan Times visited the shelter, it was found in a dismal state with minimal care for hygiene and cleanliness. A nauseating stench is prevalent all around the shelter as diseased and injured dogs are seen lying in the office building and open area of the shelter. The condition of other animals was also not good as donkeys were seen strapped in dirty rooms as makeshift cages.

“Only such dogs that are brought to this shelter for treatment are kept in cages. Our ‘in-house’ dogs are allowed to roam in the open,” said Shukla.

Regarding withholding of salary, senior project engineer RS Yadav, Noida Authority said it will soon appoint a veterinary doctor who will look after the process of salary distribution.

“We had not stopped their salary. These people were employees of the SPCA with whom our contract ended in June. Now, we have hired a new agency that has taken over the operations from today. There are people who have salary as high as ₹65,000 in that NGO. There is a committee in the authority that will be taking a final decision on the salary of shelter staff. Also, a veterinary doctor is about to be appointed by the UP government at the animal shelter. This doctor will release the salary to these employees,” said Yadav.

Additional Chief Executive Authority RK Mishra said,“Earlier, we were paying ₹1,390 for sterilization and giving anti-rabies injection to one dog. Now, we will pay ₹760 to the new agency for the same job. This way we will save a lot of money.”

First Published: Sep 25, 2017 21:55 IST