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ABC programme in Thrissur in a limbo

Even though stray dog attack reports are coming from different areas, the district panchayat's Animal Birth Control (ABC) project designed with much fanfare to reduce the dog population is practically in a limbo. According to official sources the proposal now is to revise the project by enhancing the allocation from the panchayats. The district panchayat had earmarked Rs 10 lakh for the project in the budget. 85 panchayats had been asked to earmark Rs 1 lakh for the project while six municipalities have been asked to allocate Rs 1 lakh each. However the latest proposal is to enhance the contributions of the grama panchayats to Rs 3 lakh and the revised project is expected to be ready only by month-end. As per the original estimates, the project would cost Rs 4 crore, and the state has assured that it would bear 70% of the project expenditure. However, with the state government making it clear that its share would be released only after the project execution, the district panchayat had decided to begin the project with own resources. But the latest revision indicates that the projects would require larger investments in the beginning itself. The district panchayat was planning to perform the surgeries for ABC at 12 veterinary hospitals in different parts of the district. The district animal husbandry department had estimated that each of these units would require at least five staff, including one veterinary doctor, two nurses, one dog catcher and two care givers. The panchayat authorities had earlier announced that the staff recruitment will be carried out on November 15. However, so far only three veterinary doctors, two dog catchers, two nursing assistants and five attenders have been recruited. The recruitments will now happen only after the revision of the project. There was also a proposal to give special training to women volunteers of Kudumbasree to equip them to work as dog catchers. Interestingly, the ABC programme has already made significant strides in Thrissur corporation. According to officials more than 350 dogs have already been sterilized at the ABC unit of the corporation at Paravattani. These dogs were mainly from city areas including bus stands, railway stations, and from Punkunnam. The programme will be extended to interior areas in the next phase and we hope to sterilize 500 dogs by this month end, a corporation official said. As per rough estimates there are about 2,500 stray dogs in the city and in periphery areas, and the corporation's plan is to sterilize all of them as early as possible, an official said.
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