Jammu, August 28
Despite the claims of the Animal Husbandry Department regarding going the whole hog to tackle the lumpy skin disease (LSD) cases by setting up a helpline number, initiating door-to-door campaign, setting up rapid response teams, testing facilities and division-level monitoring and surveillance teams besides issuing advisories, farmers living along the border and the Line of Control areas in Jammu division say they were being offered almost no help.
Several farmers claim they have informed the department on the helpline number regarding their sick animals but no veterinarian has visited them, forcing them to take the services of private experts.
Rohit Choudhary, a resident of Korotana Kalan village in Suchetgarh of RS Pura, says he informed officials on the helpline but got no help for his LSD-infected cow. “The official told me that someone will come to examine the animal, but none came. I had to arrange private treatment,” he said, adding that after losing an animal costing Rs 70,000 to Rs 90,000, a farmer has to pay Rs 4,000 to dig a pit to dispose of its carcass.
Another farmer of the same village, Phag Singh, said there were many critical animals but the administration had not provided any relief.
Most of the LSD cases have been reported in Kathua, Samba, Jammu and Rajouri districts. As per the official figures, over 18,500 animals have been infected in Jammu division, out of which 116 have died so far. However, many claim that the deaths are much more as many of the cases are not being reported to the administration.
The department has also said that its officials would be present while disposing of carcasses of the affected animals, but farmers say that too is not happening as many of them are disposing of carcasses in the open, mostly on the outskirts of Jammu, due to no help.
Ramesh Choudhary, Sarpanch of Deeng village in Rajouri, says people in his village have thrown carcasses in the forest area nearby. “This should not have been done, but what are the poor people expected to do as they do not have resources to dig pits to bury the dead animals,” he says. Deeng village, situated close to the LoC, witnessed shelling from the Pakistan side, till last year. “At least, we used to get compensation when our animals died due to ceasefire violations,” says Choudhary, adding adequate help has not come to tackle the disease.
The situation is similar in other villages. Farmers say that even after contacting the helpline number issued by the Jammu district administration, no help has been received for the infected animals.
Jammu Deputy Commissioner Avny Lavasa had recently stated that in case of emergency, the people should seek immediate help from the nearest veterinary centre. She had also stated that carcasses were to be disposed of in two days under the supervision of animal husbandry officials as per the protocol.
Meanwhile a provincial-level task force visited Samba to assess the situation, pattern of the spread of the disease in the district.
Dr Rahul Dev, Chief Animal Husbandry Officer, Samba, said there were 3,052 LSD cases so far in the district of which 2,078 had recovered and 961 were under treatment. Thirteen deaths have also been reported.
Over 18,000 animals infected
- Over 18,500 animals have been infected in Jammu division, out of which 116 have died so far. People say the deaths are much more as many of the cases are not being reported.
- Several farmers say that despite informing the Animal Husbandry Department’s helpline regarding sick animals, no one turns up, forcing them to take services of private experts.