Operation Pawsome

Meet the good Samaritans who rescued stray animals from the Noida neighbourhood where the Supertech Twin Towers were reduced to dust and rubble earlier this week

Published: 03rd September 2022 08:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd September 2022 08:44 AM   |  A+A-

Inage used for representational purposes (Photo | EPS)

Inage used for representational purposes (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

On the afternoon of August 28, all eyes were glued to screens that were telecasting a never-seen-before sight the demolition of two superstructures that were even taller than the Qutub Minar of the city. A few people even reached the neighbourhood so they could get a chance to watch the incident take place in front of their eyes.

Amid the anticipation, a few good Samaritans from Delhi-NCR were busy ensuring that stray animals in and around the buildings–the Apex tower (32 floors) and the Ceyane tower (29 floors) that together constitute the infamous Supertech Twin Towers in Noida—were protected, and no life was lost when the buildings were reduced to rubble. We speak to a few of these volunteers who led these animal rescue initiatives about how they planned the operations and what transpired. 

A stitch in time

It was sometime in April this year when dog lover Saniya Varma, an 18-year-old resident of Noida Sector 93, started chalking out elaborate plans to rescue the stray animals around the Supertech Twin Towers’ area. “I have been feeding the dogs in that locality since the last two years. For me, it is an everyday thing. When the demolition was announced, I just knew I had to rescue them,” shares Saniya. She reached out to a few contacts and NGOs about 10 days prior to the demolition and created a WhatsApp Group to coordinate with the volunteers who joined them for a two-day rescue operation (August 25 and 26). 

Sharing the sequence of events, Saniya mentions that about 10 to 15 volunteers joined them over the course of the two days—they caught the dogs and temporarily moved them to shelter homes to ensure that they do not end up relocating these strays. “I have been going to the same area for over two years, so I know their locations now. But just to be sure, we made the volunteers photograph the dogs so that we can drop them off at the exact place.” Together, the group of volunteers rescued 45 dogs.

Driven by affection

The dogs rescued by the volunteers were sent to Veda House—a boarding facility run by Noida residents Dipali Pandey and Sayyed Saif—that was 10 minutes away from these Twin Towers. “We spent one or two days locating the dogs before we conducted the rescue operation. A number of volunteers and residents also helped us in the process on these days,” shares Saif—his boarding facility provided shelter for the dogs for about four to five days. “They [Dipali and Saif] agreed to house all 45 dogs in the area for as long as required without any financial assistance from me,” adds Saniya. In fact, on the day of the demolition they rescued an abandoned dog that is still living with them at their boarding facility.

On their guard

Joining Saniya, Pandey, and Saif were Kamna Gupta and Nishant Muralidharan who together run ‘A Paw Five’—an initiative to spread information about animal care, rescue, adoption, etc. “We came to know about the rescue operation a day before. A large number of dogs were to be saved and it was a scary situation to be in, so we decided to help,” shares Gupta from East Delhi. The duo carried some food and water with them to ensure they could calm the dogs while rescuing them. Talking about her experiences, Gupta adds, “Animals do not understand that we are trying to help them so they try to run away. We had to lure them, make them comfortable. It was easy with some, while not so much with a few others; we had to catch them and then get them in the van while also ensuring that they were not hurt.”

While dropping off the dogs to the locality on August 30, they ensured they categorically dropped them from the area they picked them from. “Dogs are territorial animals. For them, the area they live in is their house. We didn’t put dogs from different areas together in the van because they would have attacked each other. We dropped them to the places where we had picked them up, because there is a risk that the dogs can get lost,” explains Gupta.

Bound by animal love

Noida resident and animal activist Sanjay Mohapatra is another key figure who, along with his team at House of Stray Animals—a 24x7 animal dispensary founded by Mohapatra—saved about 10 stray dogs. “We started working about 20 days prior and reached out to the Noida authorities, police as well as Edifice Engineering (the Mumbai-based organisation that was in charge of the demolition process) to raise the issue. We kept searching the area constantly to ensure no life was lost due to the demolition.” Along with this, the team also saved cows, buffaloes, and chickens from neighbouring areas. “In the neighbouring areas, one could find many buffaloes and cows grazing and roaming around. We told the owners to not do that because of the demolition. On the day of the demolition, we saved two cows and 31 chickens.” The rescued animals were sent to the hospital run by them.  

Along with them NGOs such as Noida-based Happy Tailes Foundation and Friendicoes SECA from Defence Colony were also involved in rescuing the pets from this area.

The volunteers we interviewed for this story mentioned that they couldn't locate any cats in and around the area while rescuing other strays. Saif concluded, "We decided to change the feeding point of cats. We put cat food in other places and keep tracking them for four to five days. Finally the cats moved far from the demolition site."



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