BHOPAL: Bhopal Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) zone 5, which includes posh Shymala Hills locality, was one of the first places to be sanitised during BMC’s much-hyped drive to clear state capital streets of stray animals. However, residents allege that the canine population in the area is still posing danger to people.
Taposh Bhattacharya, a resident of Shyamla Hills and in his seventies, took to social media seeking a response from BMC regarding the situation.
“Walking in the open is not safe for either elders or children,” Bhattacharya alleged. Taking photos on his smartphone, Bhattacharya made sure that his claims were backed. “I took these photographs yesterday evening and this morning at the gate of Bal Bhavan school and inside the compound of Multipurpose Demonstration School in RIE campus, Shyamla Hills,” he explained. He said that the students at these schools become easy targets for these stray dogs. “Despite tall claims of BMC neither the stray dogs are caught nor sterilised as its evident that every year the dog population multiplies manifolds and the dog bite cases reported are on the rise,” Bhattacharya added.
Bhattacharya also alleged that regarding sterilisation of dogs authorities show bogus numbers and misappropriate the funds allocated for the purchase of sterilisation kits and the huge cost of running dog catcher vehicles and payment of wages to the staff. “All in all, due to the apathetic attitude of the authorities, the situation has become quite grave as the menace has become unmanageable,” he alleged.
Incidentally, Shyamla Hills was part of the first phase of BMC’s drive to clear state capital streets of stray animals. At the end of the sweep, BMC had claimed that over 500 dogs were caught in the week-long drive which ended on January 21. BMC had reportedly impounded around 5% of stray animals in five wards.
BMC area health officer (AHO) Asif Nazir said the dogs are sterilised and dropped back in the same area as per protocol. It is as per guidelines of Animal Welfare Board of India, he said.
Area corporator Sabista Zaki, however, did not agree with the BMC official. “We have repeatedly raised the issue with BMC and in the council. Dog menace is has reached unprecedented levels. Current BMC policy has failed to tackle the problem,” she said. There are around 500 to 1,000 stray canines in the area, she estimates.