Concerned citizens also say that the animal birth control program being run at the current hospital, will also take a hit.

Bluru activists protest loss of heritage building century-old vet hospital to be demolishedCourtesy: Priya Chetty Rajagopal
news Protest Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 18:56

Protesting the BBMP’s decision to demolish the century-old building that houses the Government Veterinary Hospital on Queen’s Road, Bengaluru, a group of about 40-50 people, including animal welfare workers, activists, concerned people and four dogs, gathered on the premises on Sunday. 

They hugged trees and held a peaceful protest against the BBMP’s decision to demolish the existing century-old structure to build a multi-specialty veterinary hospital in its place.

Priya Chetty-Rajagopal, a CXO search consultant and one of the protesters, says that the decision to demolish the existing property is wrong on many levels. 

“This is a heritage site which ought to be preserved. The architecture, although old, is from the British era. There are over 90 trees in the campus and at least 4-5 are over 100 years old. Cutting them will affect the city’s central lung space,” she says.

Priya says she hasn’t found out much about the masterplan for the new hospital. She claims to have gotten hold of some preliminary plans from the BBMP, which she opines, aren’t very practical.

“They plan to have more operation theatres and air conditioned conference rooms, and cattle hoists. Yes, there is some cattle in the city, but having medical facilities for husbandry in the middle of the city doesn’t make sense, especially when there is a bigger, fully functional facility for the same in Hebbal,” Priya argues, referring to the Government Veterinary Hospital in Hebbal.

Apart from the loss of a heritage site, another prospective loss could be borne by Bengaluru’s Animal Birth Control (ABC) and Anti-Rabies Vaccination (ARV) programs. Sarvodaya Sevabhavi Samstha is one of the two NGOs sanctioned by the state government to run fully functional ABC and ARV programs.

Sarvodaya currently operates its ABC program at the hospital on Queen’s road and neuters about 600 dogs a month. The other organisation running an ABC program is Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA).

A top executive from Sarvodaya, who did not wish to be named, told TNM that though they hadn’t received an official notice to vacate the premises, representatives of BBMP’s Animal Husbandry department had been insisting that they do so.

“In my opinion, they don’t require a four-acre property for a multi-specialty hospital. Government officials have been proposing that we move to our facility in Jakkur,” he says. Sarvodaya runs its ARV program in Jakkur, but the executive said that if indeed they move there, they would just about be able to manage their current operations.

“But it is quite far, the place is smaller and we can’t cater handle both Yelahanka and east zone from Jakkur,” he said.

Dr Anand, Joint Director of BBMP’s Animal Husbandry Department told TNM that they were also considering moving Sarvodaya’s operations to the Government Veterinary Hospital in Ulsoor as an alternative. The hospital is not functional currently. When asked why the government wanted to build a multi-specialty vet hospital by demolishing century-old architecture, Dr Anand refused comment.

However, the Sarvodaya executive says that it is not a good idea. “There is a maternity home next to the Ulsoor hospital as well as residential areas and slums around. Dogs often cry or bark in the night, so people and patients will get disturbed,” he says. Sarvodaya has not received any official alternative from the state government to continue its operations so far.

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