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IIEST club for strays on campus

The Animal Welfare Club was formed on November 5 following an appeal from the students’ senate
Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST)
Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST)
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Subhankar Chowdhury   |   Howrah   |   Published 09.11.20, 01:33 AM

The pandemic has tested life, thrown up challenges and gifted some enduring takeaways. One such happy outcome is an animal welfare club that has been formed to take care of Bullet, Tiny, Blacky, Shiro and others amid the pandemic-induced closure of the IIEST campus.

The Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST) formed the Animal Welfare Club on November 5 following an appeal from the students’ senate that sought better upkeep of the stray dogs and cats amid the closure.

A group of students under the banner “People for Animal Welfare, IIEST” has been raising funds since April to feed the strays on the campus that has been closed since the third week of March with the onset of the lockdown.

But contributions from the students are dwindling with the continuance of the slump all around and therefore a need was felt to constitute the club that would enable the institute to chip in with resources whenever required, said an official.

“In the initial months the students contributed generously. But the volume of contributions has witnessed a fall now, considering that the unprecedented slump is eating into the resources of everyone. A club, which is a statutory body, will enable the institute to help,’’ said the official.

Twishampati Ghosh, the general secretary of the club, said as long as the campus was open, the 200-odd dogs and 30-odd cats did not face any problem because hostels were open and the surplus food from the mess was enough to feed them.

But the closure changed the situation requiring students to extend a helping hand.

A student of metallurgy and materials engineering, Twishampati said they had so far raised several lakhs of rupees to feed the strays through an NGO Priya Sathi.

“But the contribution in recent months has declined. Everyone has his or her hands tied amid the crisis. We hope that the formation of the club would help us seek financial assistance from the authorities,’’ said Twishampati.

Abhijit Chakrabarti, an IIEST professor of electrical engineering who is known to be a dog lover and has been associated with the fund-raising exercise, is professor-in-charge of the club. The former vice-chancellor of Jadavpur University said 40kg rice, 10kg chicken leftovers and 3kg fish are required to feed the strays.

As prices have skyrocketed of late, sustained contribution is a must, he said.

“Since there was a shortfall of resources from the students, I have been trying to compensate as much as possible. But now that the club has been formed, we will approach the authorities seeking assistance to meet any crunch,’’ Chakrabarti told Metro.

If the strays are not fed properly, their behaviour pattern tends to change and they end up behaving in a violent way. That may lead to a conflict with the human population on the campus, said Aman Kumar, the general secretary of the students’ senate. 

Taking care of the strays does not mean just feeding them, said Shruti Animesh, the treasurer of the club. ’’The sterilisation drive has to be undertaken on a regular basis,” said Shruti, a fourth-year student of aerospace engineering and applied mechanics.

Debabrata Mazumder, the dean of students’ welfare at the IIEST, said the institute would decide on help based on the response from the club.



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