Alert: Mukund with a snake he rescued. It will be released in the forest
BBMP's one-man snake cell hasn't been paid for the last six months and the amount due to him has shot up to Rs 78,000.
Sharath, the environmentalist who single-handedly mans the snake cell, was appointed by Brahut Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on the assurance that he would be paid Rs 13,000 every month.
"But he has not been paid for six months," said a BBMP source. "It has become a common thing with the wild life cell. Though officials are supposed to pay every month, they don't."
However, BBMP Commissioner Dr Subramanya said: "We are paying the wildlife cell well in time and Sharath is being paid as assured."
Sharath refused to comment on the issue and would only say: "I have been working and shall continue to do so."
BBMP officials say there is no allocation of funds for the cell. The money, including staff salary, is provided under the commissioner's discretionary power. But even that hasn't been coming.Losing out
The snake cell was in the news recently after a reptile was spotted in chief minister Yedyurappa's house. So far, BBMP has been making do with one environmentalist to rescue snakes in the city. He operates round-the-clock through the wildlife cell and has a helpline, said Hubert, deputy conservator of forests.
But, the fact remains that he hasn't been paid. Still, Sharath hasn't stopped his service.
Out of 30 calls every day, he rescues 3-4 snakes on an average. However, because of the lack of numbers, private rescuers manage 10. It's no wonder that people prefer to call private rescuers, rather than the BBMP wildlife rescue cell.
"We get more than 20 calls and catch 10 snakes a day. But we are called more often as it is difficult for one man in the BBMP cell to handle too many calls," said Snake Mukund, a private snake rescuer in Bangalore. 'All's well'
BBMP officials, of course, deny poor performance but they don't deny expansion plans that has been doing the rounds.
"Our cell of one person is performing well," said Subramanya. "We are satisfied with the service being rendered by the cell."Changes ahead
But there are hints of changes. "The cell will be strengthened as it is impossible for one man to do all the work," said a BBMP source, "The change is mainly because people demand it."
The changes will take place soon as the demand for the services of the wildlife cell is higher during the rainy season.
"The increased calls during this season has pushed for an increase in staff as well as in funds," said Bheemappa Khandre, an official. And hopefully, they'll be paid.VIP hissstory
Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa is not the only VIP to have been troubled by snakes. Others before him include:
Former prime minister H D Devegowda
Former MLA Vatal NagrajSnake charmers
Areas in Bangalore with the most snakes:
J P Nagar and Banashankari
HSBR layout and HSR layoutFace to face
What to do when you encounter snakes:
Never injure it
Keep your distance
Keep watch on its movements
Put a blanket
Call a snake rescuerCall for help
Apart from the BBMP helpline (22221188), you can also call:
Snake Mukund on 9341324672
Snake Sham (Mysore) on 9980557797,
Snake Anees on 9844037424
People for Animals on 9980339880