Nagpur: Nearly 18 years after the Union government’s directives, the state is forming the mandatory Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for Nagpur district. The government has now elected 13 non-government members of the society.
In two recently released government resolutions (GR), the state’s animal husbandry department stated the list of 13 non-government members that includes people working for animal welfare, gaushalas, human rights and those recommended by the general committee.
As per the mandate, the district collector will be the chairperson of the society, whose main aim is to prevent cruelty to animals and execute welfare schemes of the Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory advisory body functioning under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
At a time when the city is struggling to control the increasing the menace of stray dogs, activists hope that the society members effectively implement the sterilization process. Despite spending a hefty amount of money, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) failed in controlling the population of strays. In 2017, the civic body has shelled out Rs3.5 crores and signed an agreement with non-government organizations to carry out animal birth control (ABC) operations and anti-rabies vaccination in the city but in vain.
Recently, a delegation of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena met Union minister Nitin Gadkari, complaining that the population of strays in the city has crossed a lakh, due to which citizens in many localities are living under terror.
Right to Information activist Ankita Shah, who through public interest litigation (PIL) had demanded the constitution of the society, said that sterilization will now come under SPCA. “As per the union government’s notification, the state government has to provide adequate funds and land to the society for animal shelters. As society is expected to have a well-equipped infrastructure. NMC should not spend any more money on NGOs as sterilization is now SPCA’s responsibility,” said Shah.
She added that as per the rules, the district collector needs to raise mass awareness about SPCA and also start a helpline number. “It should ensure that the state government and AWBI give sufficient funds to the body. If that doesn’t happen, the members will cry about financial crunch and won’t work effectively,” she said.
In 2016, TOI was the first to report that the district administration failed to set-up SPCA despite the central government issuing a notification about the same in 2001. In January 2017, the state’s animal husbandry department proposed to set-up the society in every district of the state.
The proposal was cleared by state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, following which the state government issued a notification in March 2017.