The toll-free emergency services-cum-stray dog helpline, launched by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation on Wednesday, received around 180 calls till Thursday evening but, interestingly, not one of them was regarding stray dogs, which was its original purpose.
Most complaints were related to health and sanitation, water supply and sewerage, and electrical problems. As many as 55 residents complained about sanitation, 46 about electrical problems, and 43 regarding water supply and sewerage.
Officials said that the number of complaints which were redressed was not available. “Priority will be given to issues for which we receive a large number of complaints. We have already deputed the staff to look into various complaints which we received,” an official said.
The corporation had decided to launch the helpline after a PIL against the stray dog menace was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court some time ago. The decision to bring emergency services within its ambit was taken later. The helpline (155304) will be open from 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays and from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
Municipal Commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh said the corporation would deal only with complaints regarding ferocious dogs, not stray dogs in general.
“We can only sterilise stray dogs and put them back in their area, which is an ongoing process and is already happening. The helpline is primarily aimed at redressing complaints related to ferocious dogs that may pose danger to the residents and need immediate attention,” said the Commissioner.
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Singh said that currently the work of sterilising stray dogs was being done by only one NGO. “Due to some internal problems, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is not sterilising dogs these days. Around five dogs daily are being sterilised by People For Animals, depending on the availability of resources, as sick dogs and those needing shelter are also being taken care of by the NGO,” he said, adding that the corporation would soon be hiring a third agency to speed up the process. Around 3,000 dogs out of roughly 7,000 in the city had been sterilised, said Singh.