Published: 04th February 2021
To clear the strays from campus, IIT Madras wants to be considered protected area, writes to NGT
However, the tribunal has clarified that IIT Madras was only directed to take all precautionary measures to avoid man-animal conflicts inside the campus
IIT Madras has requested the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to treat its campus on par with adjacent Guindy National Park which would enable wildlife authorities to act against stray dogs. This unusual request was made at the recent hearing at the green tribunal, which was hearing a case filed by animal activist Antony Clement Rubin pertaining to improper disposal of the solid waste leading to deer deaths on the IIT Madras campus.
IIT Madras has engaged senior counsel Chitra Sampath, who argued that the land of the IIT was carved out of Governor‟s Lodge, which is currently the Guindy National Park. "Therefore, it is requested to treat IIT Madras on par with Guindy National Park (protected area) as far as managing the dog population is concerned so that wildlife authorities can act against stray dogs. It is reiterated that the dog menace is a severe threat agent for recent deer deaths on the campus and has a direct relationship with its decrease," she said.
The counsel said the recent post-mortem reports available with wildlife authorities point towards deer deaths caused by dog bites. The deer carcasses photographed by IIT Madras also show visible dog bite and related injuries on the hindquarter and at the neck portion. The deer are also regularly seen chased by dogs in a pack, which causes sudden cardiac arrest. Meanwhile, the petitioner Antony Rubin said if IIT Madras to be treated on par with national park then there has to be a curb on large-scale constructions that are undertaken inside the campus which is leading to fragmentation of the natural habitat of deer and endangered blackbucks.
He said no proper steps have been taken by IIT Madras for the disposal of the solid waste generated inside the campus. Meanwhile, a city-based NGO “People for Cattle in India” have tried to implead into the case saying IIT Madras was confining the stray dogs for a longer period inside cages and were acting against rules, but the request was denied by the tribunal saying the case was already disposed and only periodical reports were being sought.
However, the tribunal has clarified that IIT Madras was only directed to take all precautionary measures to avoid man-animal conflicts inside the campus and take all protective measures to protect the wildlife inside the campus and also to dispose of the waste generated inside the campus as per the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. "That doesn’t mean that in the guise of such order, they can take any action against the stray dogs which is against the existing procedure provided. Even the guidelines that have been given by the Permanent Monitoring Committee appointed by the tribunal should be in tune with the existing rules and they cannot do anything against the existing procedure provided and also in respect of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act as well," said the green bench, comprising of Justice K Ramakrishnan and expert member Saibal Dasgupta.
The tribunal has also directed the Greater Chennai Corporation commissioner to nominate a veterinarian to assist the sub-committee constituted by the IIT Madras in dealing with the problem of stray dog menace effectively.