BHUBANESWAR: Worried over the population explosion of stray cattle and dogs in the city, the state government has asked the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to prepare an action plan to get rid of the bovine and canine menace.
In a letter to the civic body on Monday, the secretary of housing and urban development department, Injeti Srinivas, has sought the action plan within a week.
"Movement of stray cattle and dogs on busy roads is creating traffic problem and leading to road accidents, especially at night. The number of victims of dog bite is also a matter of serious concern. Prepare the action plan within a week to contain the menace," Srinivas has written in the letter.
He has also asked BMC to shift the stray cattle to secluded places and conduct "effective" drives to sterilize stray dogs. "Keep rabies-affected stray dogs in a secluded place," Srinivas also instructed.
Even chief minister Naveen Patnaik was dogged by the canine menace recently as some stray dogs kept on barking during one of his interactions with the media at the state secretariat here. An irritated Naveen immediately instructed the home secretary to do something about it.
Sources said the population of stray dogs and cattle in the city stands at around 22,000 and 9,000, respectively. Pedestrians and bikers have been complaining of the danger posed by chasing dogs in night. "Packs of dogs chase and pounce on you if you return home at night, either on foot or on a two-wheeler. This happens in almost all localities of the city," Bijay Mishra, a Nayapally resident, said.
Sources said the BMC has spent Rs 10 lakh for sterilizing dogs ever since sterilization started in Bhubaneswar in 2008. Earlier, BMC had entrusted some NGOs with the job. But seeing little results, the BMC handed over the responsibility to a veterinary clinic in June 2008. A little over 6,000 dogs, including nearly 2,800 female canines have been sterilized so far since 2008 at the state-run veterinary polyclinic at Saheed Nagar. Sources said that the sterilization process costs Rs 500 for each dog.
"We sterilize nearly 40 stray dogs (both male and female) in a week," said S B Swain, nodal officer of animal birth control programme. Dogs in the age group of 6-7 years are generally sterilized. A stray dog has lifespan of around 12 years, sources said.
There was a proposal in 2010 to modernize the polyclinic. Sources said the housing and urban development department released Rs 30 lakh to BMC to purchase new equipment for faster operations. "If new instruments are provided, we can sterilize 400 dogs in a month. Additional staff is also required for the job," Dr Swain said.
Meanwhile, to tackle stray cattle, the city has only one kine house in Kharavel Nagar area. "If BMC is understaffed, cattle catching should be privatized. More open spaces should be earmarked for construction of kine houses," BMC corporator Sheikh Nizamuddin said.