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Gram Sabhas put their best foot forward

S. Annamalai
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CONSENSUAL APPROACH:A special gram sabha meeting in progress at Andankoil West Panchayat on preventing foot and mouth disease on Tuesday.
CONSENSUAL APPROACH:A special gram sabha meeting in progress at Andankoil West Panchayat on preventing foot and mouth disease on Tuesday.

Cattle protection took centre stage at special gram sabha meetings held in select districts of central Tamil Nadu on Tuesday to discuss a one-point agenda: controlling the foot-and-mouth disease.

The fight against spread of FMD gained momentum with veterinarians advocating the use of alternative medicine amidst fears over the spread of the disease during winter.

The meetings are part of a series of steps initiated to treat the affected cattle and also prevent the spread of the disease, which is threatening to assume alarming proportions. Veterinarians explained to farmers the need to quarantine the affected cattle in their sheds and not allow them to get drenched in rain. Farmers should not trade in cattle from affected villages. They must feed the cattle with symptoms of FMD in their sheds instead of allowing them to graze in the open. Those who handle affected cattle should not touch normal animals. Cows with FMD should not feed their calves directly. Farmers were told to keep a vigil on the health of their cattle and report the onset of FMD to the nearest veterinary hospital. The use of alternative medicines was also explained to the participants in a few districts.

Disease management and disposal of carcass of affected cattle were the prime issues discussed at the meetings, which were held as a sequel to the measures put in place by the respective district administration to control FMD in the wake of deaths reported from several villages. Twenty-eight special teams of veterinarians have been formed in Karur district to tackle the incidence of FMD. Around 1.67 lakh head of cattle have been vaccinated.

A control room has been opened at the Tiruvarur Collectorate to help farmers tackle FMD. Farmers can dial 9786193245 and 04366-221359 to get veterinary teams for treatment.

Meetings were held in most of the panchayats of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Karur districts. It could not be held across Ariyalur due to absence of information. Gram sabhas are scheduled to meet on Wednesday in Perambalur district.

Disease management and disposal of carcasses were the prime issues

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