Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil on Tuesday said that the 262 vacant posts of livestock supervisor will be filled at the earliest by outsourcing as the State grapples with Lumpy Skin Disease epidemic in cattle.
The decision was taken to effectively control the spread of the disease in livestock by providing free treatment at the doorstep of the farmers.
Further, the Animal Husbandry Department has directed the district authorities to speed up vaccination to check the spread of lumpy skin disease. The disease has so far claimed the lives of 43 cattle in the State.
A batch of 10 lakh vaccine doses has been received to vaccinate cows within a radius of 5 km of an infected area. So far a total of 5,51,120 livestock in 1,755 villages have been vaccinated and out of a total of 2,664 infected livestock in the affected villages, 1,520 have recovered after treatment, officials said.
Animal Husbandry Department Commissioner Sachindra Pratap Singh said the disease was spreading rapidly in the State and there was a need to raise public awareness on a large scale. He appealed to farmers that it is a viral skin disease transmitted by vectors and affecting cattle and buffaloes only. “This disease is not transmitted from animals to humans. As on September 9, as many as 70,181 livestock have died in the country. While, 45,063 animals died in Rajasthan, 16,866 in Punjab, 5,344 in Gujarat and 1,810 in Haryana. There is no reason for farmers to panic due to these mortality figures as well as the news circulating on social media,” he said.
He said that in the year 2020-21, outbreaks were found in 26 districts of the State but the mortality was very low. Also in 2021-22 outbreak of Lumpy Skin Disease was detected in 10 districts but there was no mortality. “Therefore, farmers should not panic, but take prescribed control measures,” Mr. Singh said.
He observed that that private veterinary doctors were prescribing expensive antibiotics and other supportive medicines for the disease, whereas all the necessary medicines were available at government veterinary dispensaries and mini veterinary polyclinics in tehsils. The officer requested farmers to avail free treatment for their affected cattle at their doorstep by informing the nearest government veterinary dispensaries and livestock development officers about any symptoms.
Further, officials said that instructions were given to the district authorities that vaccination should be done at a brisk pace and continuous efforts should be made to bring the disease under control. Availability of ₹1 crore should be made from the District Planning Committee for each district for the procurement of vaccines and medicines useful in curbing the ailment, they said.
“Vaccination campaign should be conducted in collaboration with private livestock supervisors to control the disease and for that their services should be taken on a remuneration basis,” officials said.
The Maharashtra Government has already declared the whole State as a ‘controlled area’ to curb the spread of the disease and has banned the holding of markets, races and exhibitions connected to cattle.