By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 10 May: Animal Husbandry Minister Saurabh Bahuguna today expressed concern over return of the lumpy virus skin disease among cattle in Uttarakhand and claimed that the government is taking decisions to control its spread.
Bahuguna was addressing a press conference at the Vidhan Sabha Bhawan here today.
Bahuguna informed media that, in the past few days, resurfacing of the deadly lumpy skin disease among cattle has been observed at a concerning level. So far, in the past few days, 3131 cases have been reported. The government has taken steps to procure a large number of vaccines for lumpy to save the cattle being affected with the viral disease. He stated that majority of the cases have been reported from Kumaon, while some cases have also been reported from Garhwal. He also added that of the total number of cases reported, 1,669 cattle have already recovered, which meant that the recovery rate at present is over 53 percent. So far, 32 cattle have died of the illness, he added, while others are under treatment.
Bahuguna also stated that ever since the first outbreak of the lumpy epidemic in the state, so far 7.42 lakh cattle have been vaccinated against it. The current availability of vaccine in the state is reported to be 3.41 lakh with a buffer stock of 80,000 vaccines. The minister added that teams of veterinarians and para vets have been sent in areas from where more cases of the lumpy virus have been reported. Most of the cases have been reported from Almora, Bageshwar, Pithoragarh, Nainital and Champawat. Additional teams have been despatched to these places to deal with the problem. In Garhwal, some cases have been reported from Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Pauri.
The minister said that a helpline number, 1962, has been made operational to call for mobile clinics and ambulances for the cattle. The cattle owners can report the cases on this helpline number to get the necessary help from the animal husbandry department. In addition, another helpline number, 18001208862, has also been made operational.
The minister claimed that the government is aiming to achieve a set target of vaccination within next few days whereby most of the cattle will be covered in the areas where the virus is currently prevalent. Care is being taken to prevent contact of calves and pregnant cattle with others as the pregnant cattle and calves can’t be vaccinated.
The minister added that two orders have been issued to ban or restrict movement and transportation of cattle from one district to another within the state and from other states to Uttarakhand till further orders or till the outbreak lasts.
In response to a question about the dharna being staged under leadership of Congress leader Harish Rawat against alleged non-payment of dues to sugarcane farmers by Iqbalpur Sugar Mills in Haridwar, Bahuguna claimed that most of those protesting outside the Iqbalpur mills are Congress workers and not the farmers and added that farmers dues’ would be cleared soon,
In response to another question, the minister expressed concern and anguish over horses and mules dying in Kedarnath. He said that he had issued directions to the district administration to take strict action against the horses and mule owners who are not taking care of their animals. Over 100 FIRs have been filed.