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Birth control to bite dogs

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 4: Howls and barks will no longer haunt the airport here, as birth control measures are being taken for jackals and dogs who have made the airport their home.

The officials of the animal resources development department in collaboration with the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) will intensify the drive to capture and sterilise stray dogs from tomorrow. The focus of the drive will be in and around Biju Patnaik Airport.

The civic body today released Rs 5 lakh for the sterilisation work, which will emphasise on birth control programme for dogs living in the vicinity of the airport. Apart from the bird menace, dogs and jackals near the runway have, of late, become a headache for the officials of the Airports Authority of India.

The airports authority, BMC and the animal resources department officials today met at the airport and took stock of the situation. Dogs will be rounded up from places such as Palaspalli, Bhimpur, Unit-VIII, Pokhariput, Gandamunda, Jagamara, Odisha University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT) and nearby localities.

Airport director Sharad Kumar said only one jackal had crept into a cage that had been placed near the runway for the past seven days.

“On the advice of experts from the Nandankanan zoo, more cages will be placed at different locations in the airport,” said Kumar.

A veterinary expert of the animal resources department said most of the wards surrounding the airport boundary were semi-urban although they were rapidly becoming urbanised.

“The estimate is that there are around 3,000 dogs in this area. In the past three years, the animal birth control team has caught 188 dogs from the airport and the nearby staff quarters,” the expert said.

Data available with the department suggests that in 60 wards within the BMC area, there are nearly 18,000 stray dogs.

The state is getting ready for an international airport in the city by the end of March next year and hence the state government has taken the decision to end all jackal and dog-related problems near the runway by the end of January.

The airport director said all entry points of drainage inlets and outlets within the airport boundary had been sealed with wire meshing structures to stop jackals and dogs from entering the airport.

Bird menace

Senior officials of the airports authority said both the OUAT authorities and the principal secretary, agriculture, had been intimated about the possible bird menace from the water bodies near the runway.

“We have requested them to seal the ponds so that birds do not nest near them. We hope that action will be taken,” said the airport director.

BMC commissioner Sanjib Kumar Mishra said: “For the animal birth control programme, more funds will be made available.”