Nagpur: The efforts of Directorate of Animal Husbandry for appointing honorary Animal Welfare Officers proved a damp squib as people responded with disdain. There seemed to be no takers for the posts as far as applying for the posts to preserve animals — especially cow and progeny — under Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act is concerned.
As per the official information, only 2,202 persons from across the State have submitted applications seeking appointment as honorary Animal Welfare Officer. Of these, the highest number — 759 — is from Amravati Division, followed by 501 from Nagpur Division, 313 from Pune, 226 from Nashik, only 24 from Konkan Division, and remaining from Aurangabad Division.
Kantilal Umap, Commissioner of Animal Husbandry, who was in the city on Friday, said that 134 honorary Animal Welfare Officers were working in State at present. He asked the subordinate officers, during a meeting held in the city, to motivate more and more people to apply for the position of honorary Animal Welfare Officer and help the cause of animal preservation.
As per the process, once the persons interested in the said appointment submit their applications to respective offices of Animal Husbandry Department, those are forwarded to State-level Committee, which clears the appointments. The idea behind appointment to the position of honorary Animal Welfare Officer was to ensure effective implementation of Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act.
In circular issued on May 13, the Commissioner of Animal Husbandry, had stated that persons interested in animal preservation should be given the honorary appointments as the law was not being implemented as effectively as envisaged. Sources said that the implementation of the law was facing several socio-religious complexities, and the problem was compounded by lack of adequate number of trained manpower with the department to deal with legal issues.
As per the Animal Welfare Board of India, an honorary Animal Welfare Officer is required to have ‘working knowledge of important provisions’ of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Rules made thereunder. The said honorary appointee is expected to liaise with the enforcement agencies and take remedial action in cases pertaining to cruelty to animals, sensitize people to reduce incidents of cruelty to animals, etc.