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The canine problem
Large areas need to be identified in different municipalities and panchayats to construct appropriate pens as required to accommodate these wild dogs. Long-term feeding arrangements need to be made with appropriate veterinary assistance. Massive sterilisation program needs to be taken up. All these require huge amount of funds which the local bodies by themselves may not be in a position to commit
A few days back in Hyderabad city, a gruesome incident occurred wherein a young boy was attacked by a pack of dogs and died. Reaction of the Mayor of Hyderabad was to say the least insensitive and inhuman. This was not an isolated incident but something that is happening regularly in different cities of the country at regular intervals. Be it the Noida incident or similar incident that happened a few years back in Guntur district. Population of the dogs has increased manifold across the country in urban as well as rural areas unless something urgently is done in a mission mode, these incidents are going to recur putting the lives of citizens to danger.
According to an estimate, there are approximately about 3 crore dogs in the country. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana alone on an average 2 lakh dog bites are occurring annually in each state. India accounts for 36% of rabies deaths globally.
True mandate for control of such problems is with the local bodies. But are they fully equipped to deal with a problem of this proportion? It needs a sustained effort over a long period of time with reasonable budget out lays and dedicated man power. If left to the local bodies, the problem may become more serious in the days to come. Conscious decision is required to be taken at the national level to tackle this problem on mission mode.
Large areas need to be identified in different municipalities and panchayats to construct appropriate pens as required to accommodate these wild dogs. Long-term feeding arrangements need to be made with appropriate veterinary assistance. Massive sterilisation program needs to be taken up. All these require huge amount of funds which the local bodies by themselves may not be in a position to commit.
Properly prepared Central programme specifically to tackle this menace can give us better results. It can be a programme where in there is a fund sharing between the Central and the State governments and the local bodies. It can be in the ratio of 45:45:10 Central state and local bodies.
Necessary technical guidance and supervision can come from the central government where as the actual ground level work can be handled by the local bodies continuously reviewed at the state level by the chief secretary. This can be made one of the terms of references to the next finance commission for recommending specific grants for this purpose .
Unconventional methods of tackling the issue should also be examined .if the number is too big to be handled in designated pens possibility of culling also needs to be examined and necessary amendments to the laws as required should be carried out. Western countries keep resorting to regular culling to keep the animal population in certain limits within civilian areas.
The problem is serious and recurring regularly at different areas in the country. High time it is designated as a serious national issue and action is taken. If it is left to the local bodies to handle, action is likely to be sporadic as and when such incidents happen.