The lockdown has tested life, thrown up challenges and some enduring takeaways like the group of Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology students who have been feeding stray dogs on the campus with their money.
The students have so far raised Rs 40,000 under the banner “People’s for Animal Welfare, IIEST” to feed dogs and cats on the campus and engaged an NGO to carry out the feeding exercise.
The initiative is being run in addition to the drive by the students to help members of the canteen staff who have been without jobs because of the institute’s closure during the lockdown.
Some students launched the forum in January to take care of stray dogs on the campus and vaccinate them with the guidance of IIEST professor Abhijit Chakrabarti, who is known to be a dog lover.
At least 50 students are involved in raising funds and collecting donations as chicken and fish prices have skyrocketed, Sushmita Das, a PhD student of computer science and technology, who is the forum’s president, said.
“These are a must for the survival of stray dogs. Apart from 40kg rice, we need 10kg chicken leftovers and 3kg fish to feed them. As prices have jumped, we want donors to contribute freely,” Das said.
Ursa Maity, a founding member of the forum, said she and others were worried about the dogs when they left the campus. “We then started collecting funds.”
The number of members has increased since the students started raising funds for Bullet, Tiny, Blacky, Shiro (the names of the dogs) and Fluffy and Reese (the names of the cats), Maity said.
The members have a Facebook page “PAW IIESTs”. Once the money is collected, they transfer it through Google Pay to two members of the NGO, Priya Sathi.
The IIEST authorities have earmarked a place on the campus where 20kg rice and a mishmash of chicken leftovers and fish can be prepared.
The rest of the rice is prepared outside the campus at a facility of the NGO. Members of the NGO go to around the campus, feeding stray dogs and cats.
Students have collected special passes from the local police outpost to carry out the exercise. “The campus falls in the coronavirus red zone. So, special passes have been procured,” a forum member said.
Since chicken and fish are hard to get now, on some days they are replaced with eggs and soya beans, the member said.
Metro had on April 20 reported of the corpus created by students and research scholars of IIEST, Shibpur, to help member of the canteen staff.
Source: The Telegraph