Established in 1996, In Defense of Animals, India is dedicated towards protecting the rights of animals, reports Alekh Angre
It was lack of awareness about cruelty to animals that drew Sudnya Patkar to take to caring for animals. “As a child, I always wondered where stray dogs are taken after being caught and loaded into municipal vans. I was shocked to discover that they were electrocuted, to control the population of stray dogs. This motivated me to work for animal welfare,” she said. Sudnya, who is trained to be a secretary, began to volunteer with an animal welfare association and decided that animal care was her calling.
After volunteering for a few years, in October 1996, she set up In Defense of Animals, India (IDA-I) as a non-profit, grassroots animal protection organisation dedicated to defending the rights of all non-human living creatures. IDA-I started operating out of two garages in a Mumbai suburb with a project for neutering street dogs. After three years in small make-shift camps, the organisation was granted space in December 1999 (at Deonar, Mumbai) by the municipal corporation through the intervention of the Bombay High Court. Over time, it has grown enormously and now receives steady funding from various government sources as well as its US-based counterpart.
IDA-I has now three centres where animals are provided shelter and medical treatment. Apart from the staff—administration, shelter manager, veterinarians and dog-catchers—other managers and volunteers work on honorary basis. The shelter in Deonar takes care of around 650 dogs of which 150 are resident dogs; the rest are strays brought in for sterilisation or medical help. Sick dogs, those with skin problems or injured in accidents, etc, are given care by providing proper food and medical treatment. There are separate wards for mother and puppies, maggot-infested animals, post-surgical care and for blind animals.
A full-time kitchen provides timely and healthy food to animals twice a day. Their feed includes milk, dal, rice, chicken-legs and specialised dog food received from donors.
IDA-I employs qualified veterinarians and para-vets; dog-catchers are always available in case of emergency. IDA-I also provides ambulances with global positioning system (GPS), to make tracking easier. It has seven ambulances including night-service ones and mobile clinics for eastern and western suburbs of Mumbai. The organisation runs a helpline through which it receives complaints and accordingly sends its ambulance for rescuing the animals. It has also been approached to render services at Matheran (where it has a centre which takes care of horses exploited to entertain tourists) and other towns. The organisation also conducts animal awareness programmes for school children. It has achieved its target of sterilising 400 dogs per month. It has also spread its wings to other territories like Navi Mumbai and Neral, and also started a ‘Free Mobile Clinic for Street Animals’. The mobile clinics treat animals with minor ailments like skin infections, cough & cold on the road itself, with follow up. IDA-I now wants to extend its advocacy and care to other animals like bullocks, ponies, donkeys and birds as well.
IDA-I has several plans which will be taken up when it has adequate volunteers. It wants to work at saving animals exploited by circuses and wants to sensitise children to cruelty to animals and step up the campaign against dissection of frogs, earthworms, cockroaches, in schools and colleges and substitute it with computer-aided training.
IDA-I encourages animal lovers to visit its shelters to feed animals, spend time with them or donate for their upkeep. It also has dogs and cats for adoption and tracks them if they are abandoned by the adopting family. You can contribute to IDA-I financially or in kind—by way of food, dog food, feeding bowls, medical equipment, etc. Donations are tax-exempt under Section 80-G of the Income-Tax Act 1961. Donation details are available on the website of IDA-I.
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State energy development agency working on mechanism for policy to be introduced soon, according to state official
The government of Maharashtra is planning to introduce an energy audit policy for commercial establishments such as shops and shopping complexes in the near term, a senior official of the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA) told Moneylife today.
"We are in the process of preparing the mechanism to introduce the energy audit policy for commercial establishments in the state. The policy will be introduced soon," said Hemant Patil, manager, energy conservation, MEDA.
MEDA, a state nodal agency, undertakes development of renewable energy and facilitates energy conservation in Maharashtra.
Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop on 'Energy Conservation, Renewable Energy and Energy Audits', organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Mr Patil said,"Energy conservation is the need of today and the future, as resources of energy such as crude oil, coal and natural gas will not last forever."
Maharashtra generates around 3,500MW to 4,000MW of power a month, of which around 38% is used by industries, 19% for agriculture and 26% is consumed by domestic consumers. Currently, the state faces a deficit of nearly 2,500MW a month.
According to experts from the energy sector who spoke at the workshop, awareness on energy conservation and renewable energy should be spread across society, mainly among farmers. Due to conventional methods and outdated equipment, farmers waste more electricity. Government should take initiatives to minimise wastage, they said.
"To determine the wastage of energy in the industrial sector, an energy audit is necessary, as it identifies loopholes in energy consumption and helps to take action to save energy," said VV Kanetkar of VV Kanetkar & Associates.
Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) is helping to set up various projects to meet the state's electricity needs, said B K Verulkar, superintending engineer, MIDC.
"Right now, we provide infrastructure for power generators to produce electricity. We have allotted seven to eight places for setting up thermal power plants. Of these, the Wardha Power Company has already started generation of 270 MW power. We are setting up two hydro projects at Barvi Dam, which will be commissioned by June 2011," Mr Verulkar said. He did not give the financial details about these projects.