The situation due to the lumpy skin disease (LSD) continues to be grim in Himachal as the state has been recording more than 2,000 infections and over 200 cattle death daily.
The disease has so far killed 4,802 animals and affected 85,808 cattle across nine out of 12 districts.
Tribal Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti and Kullu are the only three districts where no case of LSD has been reported yet.
Kangra is the worst-hit district where 29,961 animals have been affected followed by Sirmaur (13,197), Solan (12,673) and Una (10,848). Kangra has also recorded the highest 1,541 cattle deaths due to the disease. As many as 978 cattle have died in Una, 778 in Solan and 681 in Sirmaur.
The state animal husbandry department has vaccinated 2,29,679 animals. The state has 93,886 doses of vaccine available against a requirement of 2, 65,350 doses. There were only 18,300 doses under procurement in Solan and Bilaspur.
The first case was reported in Naina Tikkar in the Sirmaur district on June 22, since then it has spread to all the districts. Lumpy skin disease infections are more acute in cows and less in buffaloes which may be due to different genetic reasons. It has now spread to almost all the districts and the situation is more alarming in the regions neighbouring Punjab Haryana. “So far, the efforts being made by the government are not adequate to tackle the disease. There is no politics in this. We are just raising the matter with the government. We have demanded the government to declare it an epidemic so that farmers could get compensation for the death of the animals. Milching cattle are a source of livelihood for scores of the farmers across the state,” said Kuldeep Singh Tanwar, president, Kisan Sabha.
The Himachal Pradesh government has written to the Centre for declaring the lumpy disease as an epidemic in the state but so far there is no response from the Centre. “We are isolating the infected animals but there is also a shortage of medicines,” said Ajit Singh, a farmer from Baldiyan village near Shimla
Leader of the Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri during his public rallies took a dig at the government over the spread of the disease. “The government is busy with the elections rallies and animals are dying. The issue is not being addressed seriously,” he said.
Animal husbandry minister Virender Kanwar said that the department has taken adequate measures to control the spread of the disease. “It’s election time and Congress wants to politicise everything. The income of farmers and livestock owners has increased in five years and the department is taking comprehensive steps to deal with the lumpy disease in the state.
He said the department is vaccinating livestock so that the disease can be stopped from spreading. The state government has declared the disease an epidemic and the department has also made a provision to pay compensation for death.
While addressing a press conference, he listed the five-year achievements of the department.