The issue of shortage of doctors figured prominently in the special meeting of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat here on Monday.

Raising the issue, Mamatha R. Shetty, member, said there was no doctor at the Siddapura Primary Health Centre (PHC).

District Health and Family Welfare Officer Ramachandra Bairy said that there was a shortage of eight medical officers and 18 specialists in the district. Medical services had been hit in the naxal-affected areas as most of the PHCs here faced staff shortage. The PHCs in Gangolli, Aloor, Hallihole, Belve, Siddapura and Bajagoli villages had no doctors.

Doctors from PHCs close to national highway 17 were being deputed to these centres on alternate days. The Government had barred appointing doctors on contract basis, he said.

The meeting decided to urge the Government to fill vacancies in the district.

Supreet Shetty, member, said some unidentified persons had poisoned the river water at Nitte village a week ago. Because of this, a large number of fish had died in Bola and Inna villages. People of the region had informed the Fisheries Department. Instead of taking remedial action, the department had instructed the Nitte gram panchayat to act, he said.

President of the Karkala taluk panchayat Jayaram Salian said that gram panchayats were ill-equipped to deal with such eventualities. Assistant Director of the Department of Fisheries Harish Kumar said that this was a case of illegal fishing.

Mr. Shetty and Mr. Salian said irrigation and related-activities would be affected if steps were not taken to clean the river.

Chief Executive Officer of the zilla panchayat N. Rajashekhar directed Mr. Kumar to bring the matter to the notice of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and take action based on its recommendations.

Manjunath Poojary, member, said farmers in many places of the district faced monkey menace. The monkeys raided crops that were ready for harvest. Ananth Movady, member, said that bison and leopards too entered villages in search of food. Habitat destruction had caused this problem. The Forest Department should take immediate measures to solve the problem, he said.

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