Vijay, a farmer near Shamli in Western Uttar Pradesh, lost two of his cows in the last ten days to Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD). He had four cows and one buffalo and two of them died. “One was a milking cow and the other was just a two and a half-year-old calf,” says Vijay adding that many in his village were going through a similar situation.
According to the farmers, LSD was spreading like wildfire in Western Uttar Pradesh. “There is no intervention from the government. There is no compensation for farmers who lost their cows and buffaloes. There is no treatment or vaccination. Those who do cattle-rearing are forced to manage this disease on their own,” said a farmers’ leader from Shamli Jitender Singh Hudda. Mr. Hudda added that they would launch protests if the administration continued to neglect the situation. “Hundreds of cows are infected. The deaths are also on the rise. It is an emergency situation,” Mr. Hudda said.
State government’s different position
The State government has a different position. The Cabinet Minister for Livestock and Dairy Development Dharam Pal Singh told The Hinduthat the government was dealing with the issue with utmost seriousness. “Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is regularly monitoring the situation. We have deployed dedicated teams with veterinary doctors to the Western Uttar Pradesh districts bordering other States. Our effort is not to allow the LSD to spread to eastern Uttar Pradesh or other parts of the State,” Mr. Singh said.
He added that all the borders had been blocked; and transport, sale, trade and cattle trade fairs had been banned. “Particular attention has been given to districts like Saharanpur, Meerut and Bijnore. The farmers have been advised on the precautions to be adopted at cattle sheds. Vaccination has started. Goshalas will be given priority in the process,” Mr. Singh said adding that the teams were working similar to the COVID 19 management teams. “Our report is that about 100 cows have died. We are trying to give all assistance to the farmers,” he added. When asked about compensation, he said the priority at the moment was to check the spread of the disease.
“A different story”
But farmers have a different story. Chandrapal Singh is into cattle-rearing and is also an All India Kisan Sabha activist from Bulandshahar, close to Gautam Buddh Nagar district. “The spread is very high here, particularly among cows. There is no governmental aid. Vaccines and doctors are not available. There is not a single village that’s not affected by the LSD in our locality. Cows will have big abscesses on their skins along with fever and they will die. Authorities told us that they do not have proper facilities. About 15-20 villages have one veterinary doctor. They just asked us to create space between the cows. We had complained to the authorities, but it is of no use. In my village, about 30 cows have died. Milk production has come down,” Mr. Singh said.
Another worry for the farmers is that though the cows were recovering, the disease had damaged their general health. “Their livers are getting damaged. The death rate has been high in the last two weeks. As many as 30 cows have died in my village. Not a single doctor has visited this village. We had written to the authorities demanding compensation, but did not get a reply,” said Dharamveer, a farmer from the region.
Sachin Karoda is from Shamli and he saw 40 of the cows and buffaloes die in his village. “90% cattle in almost all the houses are infected with LSD. They are getting pneumonia too which is making things worse. The first case in our village was reported on July 27. Even calves are dying. We are depending on quacks for treatment as no doctors are available here. My buffalo has been infected and I spend about ₹1500 a day for its treatment. Today is the 17 th day since it got the disease. It has not yet recovered,” he said.