Fund crunch hits BBMP's dog birth control programme

Fund crunch hits BBMP

Submitted by alvin on Thu, 2017-03-23 11:16 File Photo: Keshava VitlaBengaluru: The BBMP's Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme to control the stray dog population in the city is floundering. Lack of kennels, delay in paying NGOs participating in the ABC programme and other reasons have jeopardised the programme.The problem began in April last year when the BBMP asked the NGOs to implement the ABC programme on 600 dogs per month, and included a new clause in the contract, which allowed the BBMP to penalise NGOs which didn’t meet the target. The clause forced NGOs to quit the programme. Right now, only CUPA in Koramangala and Sarvodaya in east zone are participating in the ABC programme while other NGOs in rest of the six zones have quit.According to the last census undertaken in 2012, there were 1,85,454 stray dogs in the city. The number might have increased by at least 50,000 since then, if one goes by the data from the BBMP Animal Husbandry Department.Anand, Joint Director, BBMP, Animal Husbandry Department, says the civic body has 190 kennels at two animal centres, which are not enough to carry out the ABC programme. “We need to construct 500 more kennels. They will be constructed in different animal centres of BBMP by next year," he says.Last year, the BBMP, according to Anand, allocated Rs 250 lakhs for the construction of dog kennels and Rs300 lakhs for the ABC operations. Accordingly, Rs210.8 lakhs was released for Medi Agrahara in Yelahanka zone, 39.1 lakhs for Shetihalli in Dasarahalli zone, 90 lakhs Summanahalli centre in RR Nagar and 67 lakhs in Chamrajpet Veterinary Hospital.Documents with the BBMP show that the number of ABC cases in 2016-17 dropped to 7093 from a high of 35,185 in 2015-16.On the vexed issue of paying NGOs, Anand says payment has been cleared for the “last three years”. “Once the kennels are constructed, we will call for fresh tenders," he says.Vinay Morey, chief of Sarvodaya, an NGO implementing the ABC programme in the east zone, faults the BBMP for devising the penalty clause. "The rules made for e-procurement had a penalty clause for not achieving a target of 600 cases of hysterectomy per month. But these are animals and not products, hence many NGOs have asked the BBMP to rethink on the clause,” he says, adding that the BBMP delayed payment when they successfully implemented the programme."For neutering one dog, the amount fixed is Rs 1000. And now, they have set the target of 600 dogs per month. The NGOs have to bear the extra cost. This will lead to more losses to the NGO,” he says.On an average, NGOs can neuter around 300 to 400 dogs per month.Dr. Murali, who runs a veterinary clinic and used to participate in the ABC programme, terms delay in paying NGOs the main issue. "We were implementing the ABC programme in West and South zone. Around five to ten lakh rupees is kept on hold for more than six months, which becomes difficult for us. Last year, due to lack of kennels, the BBMP also asked us to neuter the dogs and keep those animals under observation for three days. But we do not have such infrastructure. A target of 600 dogs, delay in payments, and lack of kennels. I opted out of the programme," says Murali.Joint director Anand’s claims of kennels being built in the Chamrajpet Veterinary Hospital also turned to be not true. This reporter found the building in a dilapidated condition, with doors and windows broken. Dogs slept in the open area since there were no kennels.Narayanswamy, an attendant at the hospital, says people from a neighbouring slum regularly entered the premises and made off with iron bars, doors and windows. “They sell it to scrap shop and earn money. The place has become very dangerous for the past few months. I have asked the officials to increase the height of the compound wall and put small glasses on it so that no one can come inside," says Narayanswamy.