Staff Reporter

Ombudsman asks government to equip local bodies

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: M.R. Hariharan Nair, Ombudsman for Local Self-Government Institutions, has directed the State government to equip local bodies with necessary facilities to curb stray dog menace.

In an order issued recently in connection with improving amenities at the Kochuveli railway station, Mr. Nair called upon local bodies to strengthen the Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme for sterilisation of dogs. These include setting up of dog pounds, purchase of dog vans, appointment of drivers and animal handlers, surgical facilities for sterilisation of stray dogs and incinerators to cremate euthanized rabid dogs.

Necessary arrangements should be made to tag sterilised dogs. Nylon collars should be provided for identification. The local bodies should also have a separate wing of veterinary doctors for the ABC programme and a monitoring committee to periodically review the progress of the project. The Ombudsman criticised the authorities concerned for failure to curb stray dog menace in the city.

“No concrete steps seem to have been taken either by the local body or the government. Local bodies require the financial and administrative assistance of the State government to implement the ABC programme successfully and the government should take immediate steps for this,” the order said. It directed that a copy of the order be forwarded to the principal secretary, Local Self-Government.

Interim order

Mr. Nair had issued an interim order in July on the upgrading of basic amenities at the Kochuveli station in a case taken against top officials of city Corporation, Railway Divisional Office, city police and the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). The Corporation had reported that it requested the government to increase the number of KSRTC (Kerala State Road Transport Corporation) services to Kochuveli.

The KSEB has also reported that an estimate of Rs. 75,110 was submitted to the city Corporation for the installation of street lights from the railway station up to Venpalavattam. However, the Ombudsman noted in his latest order that this was not mentioned in the Corporation’s statement.

Mr. Hariharan Nair has also directed the City Police Commissioner to conduct night patrolling in the railway station area to curb anti-social activities in the locality. The railway divisional engineer has, meanwhile, reported that a letter has been sent to the Railway Board seeking permission for the construction of foot overbridges at the Kochuveli station.

The next hearing in the case will be held on October 7.