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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Sterilisation of over 7,000 stray dogs raises eyebrows in Pimpri-Chinchwad

Former mayor Yogesh Behl, a corporator of PCMC, had first alleged last week that instead of 1,300 to 1,500 sterilisations as per the laid down rules, the PCMC veterinary department has come up with a figure of 7,125 sterilisations.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: November 25, 2021 7:42:51 am
Behl claimed that as per the norms of the Animal Welfare Board of India, when a stray is sterilised, he or she should be kept under watch for a five-day period. (Representative image)

Sterilisation of stray dogs carried out during a three-month lockdown period has come under the scanner in Pimpri-Chinchwad. NCP, the main Opposition party in PCMC, alleged the veterinary department of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), backed by the ruling BJP, has indulged in corruption by jacking up the number of strays sterilised and thereby making money out of the fake numbers. However, the allegation was denied by the civic body.

Former mayor Yogesh Behl, who is a corporator of PCMC, had first alleged in the civic general body meeting last week that instead of between 1,300 and 1,500 sterilisations as per the laid down rules, the PCMC veterinary department has come up with a figure of 7,125 sterilisations. A couple of days back, Behl submitted documents to the PCMC administration substantiating his charges and demanded a probe into it.

Speaking to The Indian Express Wednesday, he said he procured a written reply from PCMC regarding the sterilisation carried out during the three-month lockdown period from May, June and July. “During this period, the PCMC veterinary department claimed it sterilised 7,125 strays dogs. The sterilisation was carried out by four private agencies appointed for the purpose,” he said.

Behl claimed that as per the norms of the Animal Welfare Board of India, when a stray is sterilised, he or she should be kept under watch for a five-day period. “Suppose PCMC had sterilised 80 strays every day. In the 90-day period in three months, it had some 78 days in hand. PCMC has a capacity of accommodating 100 strays in four enclosures. So, after every five days, PCMC sterilised strays because it is mandatory to keep strays under check for at least five days after sterilisation. In three months, PCMC could sterlise dogs only on 15 occasions. In short, it means PCMC could sterilise around 1,400 dogs. But in the RTI reply provided by PCMC, it has shown that 7,125 stray dogs were sterilised in the three-month period. It is clear that numbers have been inflated to make money out of it,” Behl alleged.

Behl alleged that the RTI reply also revealed that in a six-month period from March to August, no bio-medical waste was collected or disposed of by the private agency tasked with the job. “I have received a written reply from the private agency saying they neither collected nor disposed of the bio-medical waste from the veterinary department. If no bio-medical waste was disposed of, then where did the waste go? This is a very serious issue and PCMC owes an explanation to the citizens,” Behl said.

PCMC veterinary officer Dr Arun Dagade, however, refuted the allegations. “We have appointed four agencies to catch dogs. Every day, we perform 70-80 sterilisations. This was done even during the lockdown period. We are supposed to keep the strays under watch for three days after sterilisation and not five days as is being claimed and since we have adequate capacity to keep them in our enclosure, the sterlisations were carried out every day and not on some occasions,” he said.

Behl said as per the veterinary department’s claim, a staggering 7,125 operations were performed in a three-month period. “It means, in the given three month period and excluding weekly off days, it performed around 300 sterlisations each day in the available 26 cycles or on 26 occasions. How is this possible?” he asked

Behl said it is impossible to believe that PCMC has the capacity to allow hundreds of strays to stay in its cages for three days. “It is clear that serious violations have taken place,” he said, while alleging that BJP leaders who are associated with the private agencies are behind the corruption. BJP general secretary Raju Durge said the allegations levelled by Behl are false and BJP has nothing to do with it.

Dr Dagade said PCMC pays Rs 999 for each sterilsation. The amount is paid not just for sterilisation but also for providing a doctor, taking care of the stray and other requirements. “We have paid over Rs 70 lakh for sterilisations of 7,125 strays,” he said.

Assistant Municipal Commissioner Nilesh Deshmukh said, “Since the allegations have been made, the administration will look into it. We will provide all the information to the municipal commissioner in this regard.”

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