The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Delhi government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to respond to a petition seeking the formation of a team of veterinary doctors to deal with the cases of lumpy skin disease in cattle.
A Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad has posted the petition filed by a Delhi resident, Ajay Gautam, for further hearing on October 14.
Mr. Gautam, in his petition, has also sought a direction to the authorities to make available an antidote to stop the spread of the disease among cows and demanded that stray cattle be vaccinated on priority. His plea said immediate action and remedial steps are needed to eliminate the contagious viral disease.
Lumpy skin disease spreads among cattle through mosquitoes, flies, lice and wasps by direct contact and also through contaminated food and water. Its symptoms include fever and nodules on the skin, reduced milk production, loss of appetite and watery eyes.
The plea stated that the Centre recently said about 70,000 cattle have died so far due to the disease that has spread to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
Cases in Delhi too
“This disease has knocked on the doors of Delhi too and has started affecting cows here. These infected cows strictly need medical treatment at the earliest,” the plea stated.
Only one isolation shelter has been set up by the authorities in Rewala, Khanpur, in South West district for 4,500 cattle, even though there are more than 20,000 to 25,000 stray cows in the national capital, the plea added.
The petition further highlighted that no ambulance service is available for cows to send them to the isolation shelter or any other place. It urged the court to direct the authorities to reserve sufficient numbers of ambulances for dealing with lumpy skin disease cases.
It also stated that no place has been identified, allotted or proposed by the respondents for the burial of dead cows and sought adequate space for this purpose.
“Due to sheer apathy and lack of determination on the part of the respondents and absence of government infrastructure, the public has been forced to contact local gau sewaks or NGOs for help and they are treating and burying the cows,” the plea said.