In probably a first-of-its-kind announcement from any state, Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik has sanctioned Rs 60 lakh from Chief Minister Relief Fund (CMRF) to feed stray animals during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. The lockdown is being followed in five municipal corporations, 48 municipalities and 61 Notified Area Councils (NACs). 

The government has fixed the per-day expenditure for all municipal corporations, municipalities, and all NAC areas. The expenditure is priced at  Rs 20,000 for BMC, Rs 10,000 for the other 4 corporations, Rs 5000 for municipalities & Rs 2000 per day for NACs. The amount sanctioned by CM Naveen Patnaik will allow Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Rourkela and Brahmapur metropolitan corporations to spend Rs 20,000 a day for this purpose.

The state government has asked civic bodies to provide necessary provisions for providing food to stray animals in urban and semi-urban areas of the state during the lockdown. 

“Animals such as stray dogs and cattle are facing a food shortage owing to the lockdown,” said a tweet by the Odisha public information department.

The necessary steps will be taken by volunteers and voluntary organisations. The lockdown in the state is from May 5 to May 19. Stray animals in the state might have a hard time locating food leading to starvation and other consequential issues amid the lockdown. Hence, the Housing and Urban Development body has directed all urban local bodies in Odisha to make necessary provisions for the same. 

 The Odisha government had sanctioned Rs 54 lakh to feed stray animals in various cities and towns across the state as they are struggling to find food during the ongoing nationwide lockdown in 2020.