THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A recent order by the High Court to suspend funding for the ABC (Animal Birth Control) programme rolled out by the Kudumbashree Mission will worsen the stray dog menace in the city, according to the officials. The HC had cited that Kudumbashree was incompetent for the job and directed the Local Self Government Department (LSGD) to immediately suspend funds for the agency.
Many animal welfare organisations had approached the court against the programme, which according to them, had been violating the ABC Rules. They argued that the programme mandates the involvement of animal welfare organisations and proper monitoring. Kudumbashree has around 32 units in eight districts across the state comprising 143 workers and a panel of 32 veterinary doctors for the programme.
According to the officials, Kudumbashree is only a part of the ABC programme implemented by the LSGD. “We are carrying out the programme under the supervision of the Animal Husbandry Department. Kudumbashree is just facilitating the local bodies to conduct the programme. We approached the Kerala State Animal Welfare Board for recognition in 2019 and they had forwarded our application to the Animal Welfare Board of India. Unfortunately, we are yet to get a response from the Board,” said a senior official of Kudumbashree. The official added that suspension of the programme would adversely affect the livelihood of many.
The state government roped in Kudumbashree for the programme during 2017-18. As per the agreement, the local self-government institutions were supposed to pay Rs 2,100 per dog, out of which the Kudumbashree unit would get Rs 1000. The veterinary doctors will get Rs 400 and the rest Rs 200 for food and transportation and Rs 500 for medicines. Kudumbashree has sterilised around 79,416 dogs and have earned around Rs 16 crores since the launch of the programme.
“The court issued the order without hearing our side and we hope that the court would be convinced once we are heard in our counter explanation,” the official added.
A senior official from the corporation said the programme was suspended owing to the court order. “We used to sterilise an average of 20 dogs per day. The corporation has its own unit for doing the job. Even if it’s a small number we will continue the sterilisation drive. We hope the LSGD will take an appropriate decision soon so that the ABC programme won’t be halted for long,” said.
According to animal welfare organisations, the state government has violated all existing rules and regulations associated with ABC and Supreme Court orders by roping in Kudumbashree, which does not have proper registration for handling the job.
Animal rights activist and former member of Kerala State Animal Welfare Board M N Jayachandran said that as per the SC order, the local self-government institutions should invite bids from interested parties. “The Court had specifically mentioned that the LSGs should opt only for animal welfare organisations even if it’s not the lowest quote,” he said, adding that the rate fixed by the state government was much higher than those quoted by many animal welfare organisations.
“There needs to be commitment and compassion for the stray to ensure the process is done scientifically. This should not be about livelihood,” said Jayachandran. He alleged that the ABC programme was being implemented without proper monitoring and auditing. “We are not against Kudumbashree but they should first get proper registration and comply with the existing norms before being part of the sterilisation programme,” he said.
Case in detail
High Court cites that Kudumbashree was incompetent for the job and directs LSGD to immediately suspend funds for the agency
Animal welfare organisations approached the court against the programme, which according to them, had been violating the ABC rules
Animal rights activist says as per the SC order, the local self-government institutions should invite bids from interested parties
Kudumbashree awaiting response from the Animal Welfare Board of India