Bhubaneswar: As the stray dog menace intensifies in Rourkela, locals in certain stretches of the city can been seen moving around with sticks in their hand and a perpetual fear of being attacked by a dog.
As many as 73 people of a locality have been bitten by a stray in the last two days. According to panicked residents, the dog appeared to be a mad one.
They have been urging the city’s civic authorities to immediately rid the streets and residential areas of the packs of strays and vaccinate them all. However, anger is brewing as they claim no visible action has been taken yet.
A group of people thrashed a stray dog to death in the Daily Market area on Monday and was reportedly planning to kill as many as it can spot if the administration refuses to act. The dead dog was, however, not the one that had bitten anyone, said some residents.
This incident was in sharp contrast to the one that happened in the state capital where a taxi driver was arrested on Monday after his vehicle ran over four puppies.
“The situation in Rourkela is truly alarming. Never before had a stray dog bitten as many as 70 people in just two days in this city. The authorities should take the matter seriously and protect people,” said Ashutosh Das, a resident of Rourkela, known as the state’s industrial capital.
Rourkela is home to India’s first integrated steel plant in the public sector, Rourkela Steel Plant, run by the Steel Authority of India Limited. Close to six lakh people live in Rourkela, located in Sundargarh district.
“One particular dog started biting people at Ganesh Chowk and then attacked some people in Mishra Lane on Saturday. The residents drove away all the stray dogs from the lane in the evening, but at night a few dogs returned and bit three more people. More people got bitten on Sunday,” said Das.
Kusum Prajapati, a student of Class IX, was bitten by a stray on Saturday. “I was terrified when the dog chased me and bit me. I was administered an injection at the government hospital. The same dog bit my father and two more persons the next day,” she said.
Regarding the mid-sized dog with black and reddish brown fur that has terrorised locals, Kusum's father Kamal said, “After biting me at a fuel station, the dog refused to let go of my leg. It then bit two men standing nearby. I carried three dog-bite victims to the hospital from that spot in my vehicle.”
Ispat General Hospital (IGH) and other government hospitals have seen a sudden spurt in dog-bite cases, said officials. In the residential colonies of Daily Market, Mishra Lane, Nala Road and Main Road area of the city, most families have stopped their children from moving outside the house in the afternoons and evenings.
“Action is being taken to contain the stray dog menace in Rourkela. There is no need to panic. One stray dog was caught by our staff today. Anti-rabies vaccines are available at the hospitals,” said Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) Deputy Commissioner Sudhanshu Shekhar Bhoi.
In January, a seven-year-old boy was mauled to death by a pack of strays in Mayurbhanj district. Rinku Moharana was on his way to school alone when the mongrels attacked him and killed him on the road.
(With inputs from Amiya Ranjan Parida)