Sufficient funds have not been made available to pay compensation for cattle affected by foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), government veterinary doctors have alleged. They have also questioned the effectiveness of yet another vaccination drive to combat the disease.

At a press meet here on Thursday, the Kerala Government Veterinary Doctors Association raised doubts about the government’s programmes to tackle the disease. Its members demanded a study to find the reasons for the outbreak of the disease even though an intensive campaign against FMD had been going on for the past nine years.

They said that veterinary doctors would go on a token strike on February 1 to press for changes to reduce their workload and improve efficiency.

Procession, dharna

A procession would be taken out from Eranhipalam and a dharna staged in front of the Collectorate on Saturday. The association representatives claimed that though Rs.26 crore was needed to pay compensation for cattle that either died of or were affected by FMD, the government had so far released only Rs.5 crore.

By official count, there had been 5,386 deaths from the disease and 58,197 cattle were affected. The government had promised four bags of cattle feed for each disease-affected animal and Rs.20,000 for each animal that died of the disease.

From January 15, government veterinary doctors had been on non-cooperation agitation, keeping away from the Animal Husbandry Department’s programmes. After the token strike on February 1, they would boycott programmes of local bodies also. However, they would continue to attend to sick animals.

The association had threatened to intensify agitation if the government delayed revamping of the Animal Husbandry Department. “Our workload has increased considerably in the past two decades,” the association representatives said.

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