Despite severe criticism on its failure to get the city rid of the stray dogs, Srinagar Municipal Corporation continues to remain unswayed. Such an example of insolence is seldom seen in any form of administration in the world. The way the corporation has been dealing with it, it seems a fiddling matter to it. But see how miniscule the perspective of the corporation higher officials is. Narendra Modi is the prime minister of India. He takes up the issue of clean India and to make it cleaner. the government comes up with policies. Some of these policies make sure that there is a toilet facility at every home. Pan to the SMC high officials: clean city, stray dogs, these are like non-issues. Some such high officials will be given the task of making Srinagar a smart city, how ridiculous!
Stray dogs have not only become a nuisance in the city, but it is also dangerous to be exposed to these animals. Every year there is a record number of dog bites. Not to mention the diseases stray dogs may carry and jeopardize the public health. In countries like in Europe or America, there are strict rules for dogs that are domesticated. They are properly vaccinated; the dogs have to be trained as they can’t bark on people or pollute the environs. Stray dogs are immediately impounded and even eliminated if they posses any kind of risk to human population. Here stray dogs and people seem to live alongside. Many times the dogs attack people, mostly children and maul them. Yet no action is taken by the municipal corporation which seems to have washed out its hands of the matter. It is because of the uncanny attitude of authorities that children do not venture out during day and night time.
There is not a single person who is unaffected. It has become a necessity to carry sticks to drive away dogs while strolling or stepping outside. Why isn’t it an important public concern when it affects almost the entire population of the city?
Authorities have made a number of attempts in the past to address this issue, but have miserably failed to eradicate the menace. Reasons could be non-seriousness, professional incompetence and the chronic lethargy in the administration. As per a report 20 people died due to rabies in last five years. It is fatal, and every life counts.
In 2009 two deaths were reported in just 3 months, including the tragic death of a four-year-old boy who was mauled by dogs. In the state public institutions have been miserably failing to come up with workable solutions.
Another report reveals 40,000 dog bites in five years, which is huge. The SMC has also relieved itself of the responsibility to collect relevant information on number of stray dogs as well as dog bite cases in the city.
An increasing number of attacks on those who ride motorcycles or scooters have been reported. Numerous people have been chased by dogs at times thereby causing road accidents.
They are scared to ride them at night. They have been struggling to maintain balance even at the sight of the packs that roam the city roads.
Tourism is an important sector in our economy. It is a fact that the presence of stray dogs at a tourist spot leaves a very bad impression on the tourists. It is considered unhygienic. The travellers must not be prompted to give a filthy description of our place.
The problem of stray dogs is not prevalent only in Kashmir, it exists in other parts as well. For example in Kerala people are having sleepless nights due to stray dog threats. In one recent incident a 90-year-old succumbed to injuries after being attacked by dogs. However, the administration took steps to ensure it is not repeated.
Srinagar Municipal Corporation is not paying any heed to resolve the issue. It must come up with a solution without wasting any more time, an effective solution. Solutions can be costly but they are equally essential. Street dogs can be sterilized in the manner envisaged in animal birth control (Dogs) rules, 2001. Vaccinated and then returned back to their orginal locations, there population can be reduced in 5-8 years time.
One more solution to the horrible menace is deporting them. There are places where dogs are valued for different products they make out of them. Although it sounds a bit irrational, but there are states in India and countries outside they trade in dogs.
Proper and effective waste management can also help in reducing their number as they are easily finding the food to survive in open garbage. Waste disposal and management, particularly on the streets can help a lot in controlling stray dogs. In short we have to take all feasible steps to get our city out of this horrendous problem that has affected our normal lives and left us in a state of despair.