The animal census, carried out every five years, has just gone high-tech in Maharashtra. In the latest exercise, supposed to begin shortly, animals will be photographed and geo-tagged, and Aadhaar numbers of their owners included in the database.
The officials and volunteers carrying out the census would be armed with tablets phones to take photographs and also mark the location where the animal was found. “The Pune Municipal Corporation will soon begin the animal census and has appointed the Animal Health Organisation for the purpose. The census is as per the directions of the state government,” Prakash Wagh, medical officer at PMC, said.
State Animal Husbandry department officer said that the directives for the animal census, along with guidelines, had come from the Union government. “The registration of Aadhaar number of the animal owner and geo-tagging of the animal is the decision of the Union animal husbandry department. We are not aware of the reasons behind it and are only implementing it,” he said.
Hrushikesh Sawant of Animal Health Organisation said that the animal census should have started last month itself, but there has been a delay as the enumerators would have to be provided training for carrying out census as per the instructions of the state government.
“The animal census would have to be completed in three months and the use of tablets by enumerators would make it faster. The geo-tagging of the animal would be done,” he said, adding that the photographs of each animal can also be brought on record, but the PMC will have to take initiative for that.
There are 22 animals that would be counted in the census and separate registrations for pet and free or stray animals would be made in the civic jurisdiction. “The enumerators will have to visit each unit or household as part of the census. A total of 200 veterinary professionals would be roped in for the animal census in city,” Sawant said.
The Aadhaar number of the owner of the animal would be registered along with the animal during the census, he said. While in the past, the animal census was done by the PMC through its civic staff, this time round, the state government has made it compulsory to get it done through veterinary professionals.