Dog days

People spilled a lot of anger on the face book last week after a child was mauled by stray dogs in the city. He was rescued by passers by in a semi-conscious condition and removed to a hospital. Given the state of his body, he would remain in the hospital for quite some time. This harrowing incident has shaken many especially parents of young children.

Srinagar alone must be having more than 100 thousand stray dogs right now. The canine population in Kashmir must be running in millions. Apart from the immunity of sorts the dogs are enjoying in Kashmir, their population is linked with some of the basic crises that exist in Kashmir’s municipal affairs.

It has become a full blown crisis. Dogs bite people and the volumes are up, month after month. Though it is SMHS that takes care of the most such cases in the city, the district hospitals are getting a lot of load almost on daily basis. The crisis is sustaining a lot of capital intensive pharma products. Successive governments have been talking big on various developmental fronts. They talk big on tourism and want to make Kashmir a global destination. Millions are being pumped to fly people to Middle East to hawk Kashmir as a major destination. But have they ever though that a place that has disproportionate population of dogs can claim to be a place worth a high spending tourist. Have they studied other tourist places like Kerela and Jaipur and studied the systems in place for managing municipal waste and the dogs?

Kashmir in general and Srinagar in particular has the worst municipal systems. The capital city lacks even the basic workers to manage the waste. Its staff shortage has created a situation that part of the municipal waste is not being removed. And whatever is being lifted and transported to a designated place is being buried and not managed the way civilized societies manage waste.

Apart from the court cases that the government is fighting on the dog issue, it needs a proper study and adequate response system. How much will it cost to have a better network of municipal workers or the machinery? What could be the investment that could go into the purchase of most modern machinery for lifting and treating the municipal waste? A state that is spending more than Rs 31000 crores a year should be able to spare a few hundred crores for offering this basic facility to a city that is home to 1.5 million people.  It is good to talk big and impressive to tweet on issues that concern India’s foreign policy. It would be great if the policy makers start thinking about managing dogs that have created a situation in certain areas that people rarely move alone especially during early hours or late evenings. J&K still retains a semblance of autonomy in which it has right to legislate. There are scores of laws that have not been extended to the state so far. Why can’t the state government take recourse to legislation to have a way out for managing this crisis.

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