With PMC’s carcass disposal plant shut for two months now, strays are left to rot on city’s streets. Following health concerns from residents, officials are resorting to a mix of convenient and crude ways to get rid of the bodies
Don’t wait for the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to clear away carcasses of street animals: it has no such intention or even the resources.
With the civic carcass disposal plant located in Uruli Devachi having been shut for the past two months, the PMC has just buried its head in the sand and is pretending there is no problem.
The PMC seems to have washed its hands of city’s strays, having neglected its carcass plant. File Pic
In a recent incident, a dog’s body remained on NIBM Road for almost a week until it underwent complete natural decomposition. Despite the residents having to endure the terrible stink, PMC workers didn’t deploy anyone to turn up at the spot and remove it.
“The stray dog on NIBM Road was hit in an accident, after which nobody bothered to dispose of the animal. The entire area was stinking, and surrounded by flies and insects and birds, sparking fear of infection. Who is accountable for this?” said Mousami Biswas, a resident of Kondhwa, who had seen the extremely decayed body.
The civic officials say that they couldn’t dispose of the carcass since the plant has been shut off for the time being.
When we contacted civic deputy commissioner (solid waste management), Suresh Jagtap, he directed us to the health department, as “the carcass disposal plant comes under their jurisdiction”.
When mid-day spoke with PMC’s acting medical chief Dr S T Pardeshi, he said, “We are not getting any land to shift the carcass plant in any other area, because no corporator is willing to place it in their jurisdiction.” He said the PMC health department daily receives at least four calls reporting bodies of big animals, and 10 calls for dogs.
He said that that villagers of Uruli Devachi have a strong objection to the carcass plant being run from the garbage depot in their village.
“After recent interventions by NCP chief Sharad Pawar, long-protesting villagers finally allowed PMC’s garbage dumpers to enter the depot. But they remain firm on not letting it restart the carcass plant,” Pardeshi said.
“After failing to identify any alternate site in the city jurisdiction, we have located two acres of land in Ranjangaon MIDC. We have also sent them a written proposal seeking their consent,” Pardeshi said.
A top-level source told mid-day that since the PMC has no other facility to dispose of animal carcasses currently, disposal activities are going on secretively in Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s (PCMC) dead animal disposal plant.
“Currently, we don’t have any animal disposal plant, and we are sending all the carcasses to the PCMC plant. This temporary solution arrived at by the PMC would not help in the long run,” the source said.
Doing what they must
With a slew of complaints from citizens, ward offices are dealing with the problem in their own way. “We have no option but to dispose animals at our own level. Whenever we receive a call, we send employees and a van to the site and after searching for barren land or a hill nearby, we dig a pothole to dispose of it,” a Kothrud ward official told this reporter on the condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, animal lovers are arranging shelter for stray dogs. One of them, Manoj Ostwal, said, “We are facing a lot many problems dealing with dead strays, and most take their last breaths at our shelters. If carcasses remain on the streets, they can give rise to disease, especially the rabid ones. I appeal all citizens to urge the PMC to act. If it still does not, we should file a petition in high court. Offering a solution, he said, “For a while, the PMC can make available an industrial furnace to dispose of the dead animals. It should immediately take steps in this regard.”