100 bitten in 2 days

DOG ATTACKS INTENSIFY

M HYDERI

Srinagar, Oct 31: After a little lull in canine attacks on humans in this summer Capital, stray packs mauled over 100 people in the City in the past two days, officials and witnesses Wednesday said. 
 Officials said 99 % of the victims were Category III bite cases where the patient is vulnerable to incurable and life consuming rabies. While many of the wounded include women and children, the attacks mostly took place in crowded marketplaces including the City centre.

THE NEW RECORDS
The bloody aggregate of 2-day bites is being seen as new record in dog attacks on humans in the City where the ruling coalition seemingly tries its best to safeguard rights of stray packs including the rabid.
 At least 79 bite cases were treated at the Anti Rabies Clinic (ARC) at SMHS Hospital alone. Of this, the officials said, 47 cases were reported Tuesday and 32 on Monday.
 Given the fact that government hospitals have failed to provide the vital but costly Immunogulobin free of cost to the victims, many patients were seen opting for private treatment.
 Confirming the sudden surge in bite cases, which otherwise remains around a dozen a day, Dr Shahnaz who looks after the SMHS ARC said Immunoglobin was not being provided free of cost due to “financial constraints.” “But we provide Anti Rabies vaccines free of cost,” she said.

THE INCIDENTS
Panic gripped Budshah Chowk when some stray packs went on barking and biting who ever came their way. Among the wounded, worst looked the plight of a schoolboy who was waiting for bus to return home.
 The boy fell down in a poll of blood and a dog continued biting him till some bystanders mustered courage to rescue him as they pelted stones on canine to chase it away.
 “But in doing so, the dog attacked us as well,” said a middle-aged man while showing his wounded arm.

THE RESENTMENT
Resentment is growing against the ruling National Conference led coalition in general and the Srinagar Municipal Corporation in particular over the government failure to get rid of dog menace.
 “The officials spoke a lot but ended up doing nothing to get rid of the dog menace as we people continue to get victimized,” said prominent civil society activist Imdad Saki flanked by others.
 The civil society has accused the government of being more concerned towards the welfare of dogs than humans.

OFFICIALS SPEAK
The SMC Commissioner Dr GN Qaba, however, refuted the allegations saying the civic body was doing its job. “We have brought the roadside dumping of garbage to minimal while sterilization is also being carried out. Besides we have been seeking public suggestion on how to get rid of the menace,” the SMC Commissioner said.

THE MILLION DOLLAR TAG
The State Government recently allotted the costly and time-consuming canine sterilization contract to a Gujarat-based private agency.
 The Housing and Urban Development Department (H&UDD gave a go-ahead to the agency to start sterilization of stray packs under the ongoing Animal Birth Control (ABC) program. The decision of handing over the project to the private agency was taken at a high-level meeting held at Civil Secretariat Srinagar on September 3, 2012, in the office of Principal Secretary H&UDD.
 Given the population of around one lakh and growing dogs in the City, as claimed by the government on the floor of the House, the sterilization project could stretch for years while the deal may run in crores because each surgery costs around Rs 600 apart from expenditure on construction of facilities for dogs, again at a cost of millions.
 Till now, the sterilization of stray dogs would be carried by SK University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) in collaboration with the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC). While a thousand dogs underwent surgery at state-of-the art dog pound at Shuhama, the facility was constructed for over Rs one crore from funds meant for development of humans in Srinagar.
 The Government said the decision to handover the sterilization project to the private agency was taken on the recommendations of AWBI.  The state has also empowered the NGO to make all business deals with regard to procurement of equipments and other related facilities.

BOTTOMLINE
While the people have been seeking an end to dog menace, the Government looks at sterilization as the sole solution to the menace. But a million dollar question posed by then Chief Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifullah remains unanswered and nobody, not even the animal rights activist could reply it in the courtroom: Will a dog stop biting after sterilization?

Lastupdate on : Wed, 31 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 31 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 1 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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