Mrunal Manmay Dash

Even as the dust of controversy is yet to settle down regarding alleged corruption by the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) in the conduct of the Bali Yatra, the civic body has been embroiled in yet another allegation of corruption in the stray dog sterilisation drive.

As per reports, the Cuttack civic body had spent lakhs of rupees on the stray dog sterilisation drive at a time when the Orissa High Court had put a ban on the same.

While no authority in the State was undertaking such a drive, the CMC has reportedly spent Rs 9,99,649 in August 2023, Rs 5,63,605 in September, Rs 3,35, 520 in October and Rs 1,67,760 in November for stray dog sterilisation.

The figures came to the fore after the CMC presented the monthly expenses report before the Council, stoking the allegations of corruption.

“We have many times requested the authorities to sterilise the stray dogs, but every time they replied that they cannot touch any stray dog because of a High Court case currently going on. They had assured us that they will start sterilisation only after the High Court order. Then what is this expense report? Most probably a corruption,” alleged a Corporator Lizarani Rout.

Another Corporator Laxmidhara Pradhan said, “The High Court had put a ban on stray dog sterilisation since last July. No sterilisation drive was undertaken across Odisha because of the ban. But the monthly expenditure report of the CMC has mentioned lakhs of rupees spent on stray dog sterilisation which is nothing but a huge corruption. Senior officers and politicians are involved in this corruption. It needs a high-level enquiry.”

Asked about the allegations, newly-appointed CMC Commissioner, Siddharth Shankar Swain said, “The sterilisation drive was halted following the High Court order. The expenses presented in the report might be a recurring cost. But if there are any irregularities or illegal billing then we will definitely initiate action against the responsible officials.”

On July 6, 2023, the Orissa HC had put a stay order on the sterilisation drive and animal birth control (ABC) programme effectively banning stray dog sterilisation across Odisha.

However, the Orissa High Court lifted the stay on January 8, 2024 after the Odisha government furnished an affidavit in the court stating that a state-level monitoring and implementation committee for animal birth control (ABC) has been formed to regulate the sterilisation of stray dogs.

  • Reported by: