PUNE: The Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme in the city has been rendered impotent by a paltry budget.
This fiscal, only Rs 75 lakh has been earmarked for the civic body’s ABC programme. Project supervisors say this is too measly an amount to implement the programme.
Manjiri Rajgopaul, who heads the animal birth control programme for NGO Action for Animals against Cruelty and Trauma (AaCT India), said that Rs 655 to sterilize a dog is just not enough. She enumerates additional expenses such as salaries of dog catchers, and payments to be made to vets and handlers. Moreover, medication, surgical equipment, food for dogs and diesel for dog catching vans require money.
“Other municipalities pay between Rs 900 and Rs 1,200 for every dog to be sterilized. By the same standards, the annual sterilization budget for Pune should be close to Rs 2.5 crore,” said Rajgopaul.
AaCT India, under Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), is supervising the ABC programme in Pune. It is to ensure that stakeholders follow the protocols set by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) while sterilizing the animals.
Meher Mathrani, the honorary animal welfare officer and head of AaCT-India, is on the monitoring committee of the PMC’s ABC programme. Mathrani said, “The current budget will target only 25% of the reproducing canine population. The rest will be left to reproduce. The PMC had put forward a proposal for an adequate budget in the general body meeting, but elected members knocked it down.”
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According to her, the only way to keep the dog population in check is to ensure sterilization and proper dog management coupled with aggressive animal birth control vaccinations and dog adoption drives. Even the fringe areas must be covered by the drive.
Meanwhile, a PMC health department official confirmed that the ABC budget for 2017-18 is indeed Rs 75 lakh, though the original proposal was for Rs 2 crore. “For the next fiscal, we would propose a budget of Rs 5 crore. Of the total, Rs 2 crore will be proposed as the sterilization cost for 2018-19,” he said.
Date : 06 October 2017