Thiruvananthapuram: While citizens in Kerala fall prey to stray dogs, a committee appointed by the Supreme Court to study the problem suffers from government apathy.
Acting on a petition against stray attacks, the Supreme Court named Justice S. Siri Jagan to head a panel to look into the problem that has assumed enormous proportions in Kerala. The committee is still without an office or staff.
State government officials had shown the proposed office in Kochi to the representatives of the committee last week. Though the committee members were far from being impressed, they agreed to the location to avoid any further delay.
Still the office is a long way from being operational.
Justice Siri Jagan, who is examining the treatment and compensation offered to victims of dog bytes, had told the Supreme Court that the panel was not able to function in the absence of facilities. The Supreme Court had warned the state government that it would be held responsible if it failed to arrange the facilities.
Justice Siri Jagan told Onmanorama that the committee was yet to receive any facilities.
The committee’s report presented before the court says on an average, 335 people were subject to stray attacks in Kerala. Kerala has 2.5 lakh stray dogs, the panel estimates.
As many as 1,22,286 people were bitten by strays in 2015. Of them, 10 died. The maximum number of attacks happened in Thiruvananthapuram district - 29,020. As many as 31,334 people were bitten across Kerala this year through May. Four of them received fatal injuries.
In 2014, as many as 1,19,191 people were attacked, leading to 10 deaths. In 2013, as many as 62,280 people were attacked, leading to 11 deaths.
The committee was formed after a plaint by Jose Sebastian, the husband of a woman who died in a stray dog attack, and Fr. Ghevarghese Thomas. The state government is represented by the Law Secretary and Health Director in the committee.