Srinagar: With Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) failing to curb the growing population of stray dogs, the canines pose a serious threat to people in the summer capital. The residents in most of Bemina, Qamarwari, Batmalloo, Tangpora, Barzula and Nurbagh claimed that due to the presence of dogs, they are unable to make a move on the roads especially in the morning and evening times.
Habibullah a senior citizen of Bemina said that stray dogs can be seen in large groups in the area. “These dogs have made the living hell, particularly for women and old age persons here,” he said.
The inhabitants of Qamarwari said that it seems that the Srinagar Municipal Corporation is unaware of various laws regarding how to check the growth of stray dogs, even after making several complaints by residents to the authorities nothing much has changed.
“Some of the dogs living in our area are obviously rabid. Not just bites, but several accidents also keep taking place as they keep following the motorists even after dark, “going for morning prayers has become as tough as going to a battlefield,” said an elderly person Mohammad Shafi of Qamarwari.
Residents from Khanyar, Habba Kadal, Rambagh, Jawharnagar and Solina, Karanagar also claimed that the stray dogs has hampered smooth movement of people.
“Stray dogs have spread terror in our locality. Our children fear to move out even during day. The dumper bins placed on road sides by SMC have turned out to be a breeding ground for dogs. We appeal to SMC officials to take measures to check the canine population in the area,” they said.
An SMC official said that there are around 2000 dog bite cases reported from Srinagar every year and symptoms of rabies are usually non-specific and suggest involvement of the respiratory, gastrointestinal or central nervous systems.
However he said that the people throw food packets on the streets and these attract dogs. “When someone tries to clear it, the canines bite them. There is a need to keep the streets and roads clean.”
One of the senior officials of the SMC said that they have already signed a memorandum of understanding on sterilization of dogs with SKAUST for resuming dog sterilization program in the city. The Jammu and Kashmir Government had recently informed that 30,711 dog bite cases have been reported in Srinagar during the last six years.
Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Asiea Naqash had told the Legislative Council that 30,711 dog bite cases were registered at an anti-rabies clinic at the SMHC hospital in Srinagar from 2012-13 to 2017-18 up to September.
The state government in 2017 ordered the constitution of a state-level implementation and monitoring committee for the control of stray dog population in Kashmir.
The order was issued in the wake of public criticism that the authorities concerned, especially the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, have failed to check the menace of stray dogs.
The committee was said to be function under the chairmanship of the administrative secretary of the housing and urban development department. The committee was asked to study the reasons behind such a high number of dog bites and whether the culprits were pet or stray dogs.
(With inputs from KNS)