- The Animal Birth Control Programme of the BBMP has taken a huge hit this year.
- Despite a BBMP budget of Rs 9200 crore, non-payment of Rs 30 lakh is seen as the culprit.
- While the BBMP and NGOs play a blame game, the stray dog population in the city is set to explode.
The BBMP's Animal Husbandry Department has failed to clear some Rs 30 lakh to the Sarvodaya Sevabhavi Sanstha, Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA), Animal Rights Fund (ARF) and a few other NGOs tasked with nurturing stray dogs.
Now that there are no funds, the NGOs have to withdraw their Animal Birth Control programme in the BBMP. It entirely possible that this decision by the NGOs will receive memories from 2007 when stray dog attacks became a major issue in the BBMP from 2007.
In this summer, the stray dog population, which is currently at around 2 lakh, might increase by another 75,000, as some two mating seasons have gone by unchecked due to non-payment of dues.
Since summer is the mating season for dogs, they will be very aggressive, charge at humans and even bite them, if they are not pacified by the Animal Birth Control programme. But that seems unlikely since bills from December are still pending, and the task has now become exponentially difficult.
To CUPA alone, the BBMP owes Rs 1,88,000 (December), Rs 3,77,000 (January) and Rs 6,13,000 (February). These payments are for catching, neutering and releasing the dogs under the Animal Birth Control programme.
"Despite sending several reminders, the BBMP has not cleared the payment files. The files have to get clearance from many tables in the BBMP and hence the delay," said Jagadish, Liaison Officer, CUPA.
Echoing similar sentiments, Vinay Morey from Sarvodaya Sevabhavi Sanstha says that has been a sharp decline in the Animal Birth Control programme in the BBMP. In last two years, out of the eight NGOs initially attached to the plan, six have stopped work due to non-payment.
"Only my organisation and CUPA are doing the ABC work, but the BBMP is assuming the service sector is a commercial one and treating us like PWD contractors. The BBMP animal husbandry department has now given a target of 300 to 600 surgeries of stray dogs depending on the zone and imposes a penalty of Rs 100 per dog if the NGO's fail to cover. This new rule is demotivating the NGOs who are helping the BBMP in reducing stray dogs," said Vinay Morey.
He pointed out that due to stoppage ABC in most parts of Bengaluru, the cases of rabies is on the rise. "From August, we have recorded 8 cases of rabies among stray dogs, and many have gone unnoticed. The BBMP should soon act before major catastrophe strikes," he said.
Indeed, surgeries, which used to be close to 1,00,000 in number have come down to barely 3000. For Dilip Bafna, Executive Trustee of Animal Rights Fund, which was doing this service for 18 years, suspending the programme was very disheartening.
"I am struggling to get Rs 20 lakhs from BBMP. I have visited the BBMP 39 times for the balance payment over the last two years, as we have to pay to our workers and also maintain the shelters. We stopped taking up the work," he said.
The Animal Husbandry Joint Director in the BBMP agreed that the BBMP had failed to contain the stray dog population. But he defended his department, stating that since the payment of Tax Deducted At Source (TDS) was pending from the NGOs, their payment has been withheld.
"Only two NGO's are doing ABC. No one is coming to participate in the tender process in other zones as there is lack of infrastructure like kennels and operation theaters within the BBMP limits. Now, we have allocated Rs 2 crore for kennels and Rs 3 crore for ABC. Things will improve in coming days." he said.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:40 PM