AMID GROWING DOG SCARE NETAS, BABUS SING ALL IS WELL TUNE

M HYDERI

Srinagar, May 14: Spotting over a hundred stray dogs on prowl around could be scary and equally deadly, but this is a routine for the people living in this summer Capital while the politicians from the ruling parties and the administration say that the menace has been “taken care of because of improvement in sanitation.”
 While everyday on an average over dozen odd people mostly children fall prey to the deadly dog bites, the ruling coalition and the concerned  departments strongly plead that the “menace is under control”.
 As about the ruling National Conference, which bagged all the eight seats from Srinagar in the last Assembly elections, the party looks seemingly more concerned towards the welfare of dogs than humans.
 Even as none of them seems to have sought an end to the trouble, they believe that improvement in sanitation will make the dogs migrate elsewhere.

UNITED UNDER-CONTROL RESOLVE
 It was some two years back when the government announced on the Floor of the Assembly that the accurate number of dogs on prowl in Srinagar was 91,110.  Giving details, the then junior minister for housing, and MLA Amira Kadal said sterilization of dogs, which critics have been looking at time consuming and costly exercise, was the sole solution.
 Thereafter the government upheld the sterilization stand while over Rs one crore meant for human welfare in Srinagar were spent on construction of a state-of-the-art dog pound at picturesque Shuhama to start the canine sterilization, which subsequently went ahead but at “very slow pace.”
 Following deadly attacks on humans and death of a Safa Kadal youth last year when dogs chased him on river banks there was a hue-and-cry over the canine menace and alleged government failure to get rid of it. In meantime mauling of kids like 3-year-old Dua Meraj of Habba Kadal fueled the public fury.
 Thereafter, the officials started pleading that sterilization and better sanitation could end the dog menace. 
 Finally on August 31 2012, the then NC spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq came out in support of the government saying “dog menace has almost been taken care because of improvement in sanitation.”

THE SANITATION LINK
 Last month, stray dogs unleashed terror in the tourist hub of The Boulevard by biting some 50 people including tourists and children in a day. However, instead of initiating any action against the deadly stray packs, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation went tough against people accusing them of littering.
 Official handouts reveal that around half a dozen people were fined for littering in the tourist hub while a massive sanitation drive was undertaken by the SMC. Officials believe that improvement in sanitation will keep the dogs away.
 There was, however, a slight change in the government view on April 12, soon after the Boulevard attack, when Cabinet Minister and City MLA Ali Muhammad Sagar chaired a high level meeting ahead of the Durbar reopening.
 Sources said Sagar pulled up the administration over dog menace. But what transpired in the official handout again linked sanitation with dog menace. “Exhorting upon the district administration to curb blackmarketing and profiteering, Sagar directed for intensifying market checking. He also asked for ensuring cleanliness and maintaining proper sanitation in the City besides controlling dog menace,” the handout said.

THE CONCERN
 The ruling government looks so concerned towards the stray packs that it disallows even the killing of rabid dogs. In 2011, following public criticism, the then Divisional Commissioner had issued shoot-at-sight orders against the rabid dogs, but the orders were revoked overnight.
 And in 2013 when people attempted to stage protests against the canine menace at historic Lal Chowk, the anti-dog voices were gagged as police swung into action and whisked them away.

THE MILLION DOLLAR QUERY
 Though the sterilization is feared to be of little or no help, a million dollar question posed by the then Chief Justice FM Ibraheem Kalifullah remains unanswered in the courtroom: Will a dog stop biting after sterilization? (To be concluded)

‘HOW ABOUT DOG MEAT EXPORT?’
Srinagar: For a City with around one lakh stray canines on prowl, how about exporting the “tinned dog meat”? This innovative idea of “killing two birds with one stone” was recently discussed at a high level meeting called by the government to seek suggestions on getting rid of the dog menace, which has assumed alarming proportions in Srinagar.
 A senior official is understood to have suggested at the meeting that “export of dog meat” in tins could be a measure to get rid of the menace “because this meat is consumed as a delicacy in some north Eastern states and abroad.”
 Sources said some even suggested that the “dog meat could be sold under the famous brand Kashmir.”
 “But following a debate on the pros and cons of the plan, the idea was finally turned down,” said an official, requesting not to be named.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 14 May 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 14 May 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 15 May 2013 00:00:00 IST




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