Pakistan News

Implementation on rabies control programme still three months away, court told

KARACHI: The provincial authorities on Wednesday informed the Sindh High Court that a draft of bye-laws for population control of street dogs and their mass vaccination was being vetted by the law department and would be placed in cabinet meeting for approval soon.

They further said that at least three months were needed to complete the exercise of procurement of vaccination for implementation of rabies control programme.

When a petition about rise in dog-bite incidents in the province and shortage of anti-rabies vaccine at government-run hospitals came up for hearing before the two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, secretary of local government Najam Shah submitted a progress report.

He submitted that a notification was issued on Feb 2 to form a committee to make bye-laws about the matters enumerated in clauses 8, 9, 10 of schedule VIII of the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013.

Draft of bye-laws for dogs’ population control to be sent to cabinet for approval soon

He placed a copy of the draft of bye-laws for population control and mass vaccination of street dogs before the bench and said that the committee had approved the same and the draft had already been forwarded to the provincial law department for vetting.

Mr Shah assured the bench that as soon as the vetting was completed, he would pass on the draft to the provincial cabinet for approval.

Assistant advocate general Shaharyar Mehar assured the judges that as the draft was sent for approval of cabinet, the same would be placed in the next meeting of the cabinet for approval.

When the bench pointed out that the next step of the matter was the implementation of rabies control programme in Sindh, the project director of the programme, Najeeb Ahmed, submitted that the funds had already been allocated for this financial year and consultation with technical stakeholders including the Indus Hospital would be made within 10 days.

He further contended that the meeting of procurement committee to be convened and thereafter the tenders for supplying the vaccine for rabies control programme would be invited through newspapers as per Public Procurement Regulatory Authority Rules.

However, he said that at least three months will be consumed in this process and the procurement exercise will be completed to implement the programme.

The bench directed the secretary of local government and the project director to submit progress reports through the advocate general of Sindh office after 45 days.

The lawyers for different district municipal corporations as well as the cantonment boards also assured the bench that they would continue their efforts to minimise the incidents of dog bite cases in their territorial jurisdictions.

In the last hearing, the bench had observed that certain efforts had been made by the local government department and local administrations in order to save public from stray dogs, but the fact remained that the implementation of master plan and bye-laws was statutory responsibility which cannot be delayed for an unlimited period.

It had added that the law was in the field since 2013 and even the provision of bye-laws was there and directed the secretary of local government to frame bye-laws in the larger public interest within 45 days.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2021

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