The Bombay High Court on Wednesday noted that lumpy skin disease is widespread among the cattle and sought the Maharashtra government’s response to a plea for framing a policy or standard operating procedure.
A division bench of Justices S V Gangapurwala and R N Laddha asked the government to file its affidavit and posted the matter for hearing on November 17. “It (lumpy skin disease) is a widespread disease spreading across the state. You (the government) will have to come up with a policy. We know it will take some time,” the bench said.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by Raju Shetti, founder of Swambhiman Shetkari Sanghatana, stating that the lumpy skin disease was on the rise but the state government was doing nothing except issuing circulars on the issue.
The plea said the government ought to take steps as provided under the provisions of the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act. As per the PIL, farmers are already facing hardships due to heavy rainfall and now with their livestock facing the threat of lumpy skin disease, they would require economic support from the government. “The government has to carry out mass vaccination of cattle to control the spread of the lumpy skin disease,” the petition said.
It sought a compensation of Rs 1.5 lakh for every cow or buffalo that dies of the lumpy skin disease. Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had earlier this month said the immediate action by the government and rapid vaccination kept the number of cattle that died of the lumpy skin disease to just 2,100.
Officials had said that a massive vaccination drive was underway against the viral infection.