Tarn Taran, August 12
Lumpy skin disease (LSD), a viral infection inflicting cattle, especially cows in the district, has become a cause for concern for small cattle owners. The disease has claimed the lives of many cattle so far.
With the Animal Husbandry Department reeling under staff crunch, it has become difficult for officials to control the disease. Besides, the disposing of the dead infected cattle
in an unprofessional manner could lead to rapid spread of the disease among other cattle.
Dr RP Singh, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry Department, said on Friday that 1,517 animals were affected by the infectious disease and 84 animals had lost their lives in the last one week.
Tajinderpal Singh, leader of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Punjab, said the department had not even reached the grassroots level as the department was facing a shortage of staff. He alleged the real figure of cattle deaths and the infected ones was much more than that claimed by the department.
He said there were 37 rural veterinary pharmacists working in rural institutions, hospitals and dispensaries. He said they were not cooperating with the department as they were on strike over not releasing their salary for the last five months.
Twentysix posts of veterinary officer (doctors) against 65 sanctioned posts are lying vacant and 20 posts of vet inspectors out of 71 are still unoccupied in the department.
Dairy farmer Balwinder Singh of Raspulpur, who lost one cow to the disease, said small farmers were dependent more on cow than buffalo for milk, but LSD affected mainly cows, causing a big financial loss to them.