With the lumpy skin disease spreading fast among bovine animals in western and northern Rajasthan, cattle-rearers in the State are suffering heavy losses. The infection has spread to about 25,000 cattle in the last couple of months and resulted in the death of more than 1,200 animals.
The State government has decided to set up control rooms in Jaipur as well as the affected districts for continuous monitoring of the spread of infections. Animal Husbandry Minister Lalchand Kataria visited Phalodi in Jodhpur district on Monday to take stock of the situation and met the cattle herders whose animals were infected.
Mr. Kataria said teams of veterinarians had been mobilised to provide treatment promptly and arrangements made for the supply of essential medicines to cattle herders. The affected bovine animals are being isolated to stop the chain of infection.
A team of experts from the Centre also visited some of the affected areas on Monday to monitor the situation.
While the dairy sector has been adversely affected by the lumpy skin disease, the outbreak of the infection has also posed a threat to the State’s position as a stronghold of cattle and livestock. According to the 20th Livestock Census undertaken in 2019, the livestock population in Rajasthan was 5.68 crore and the cattle population was 1.39 crore.
The infection, which was initially reported from the border districts of Jaisalmer and Barmer, has since spread to the districts such as Jodhpur, Jalore, Sirohi, Nagaur and Bikaner. The disease has mainly affected indigenous cows and spread rapidly among the bovines having low immunity.
Mr. Kataria said ₹1 lakh each had been allocated to the affected districts for purchasing medicines in an emergency situation, while ₹50,000 each had been released to polyclinics. “Wherever there is a shortage of veterinary personnel, teams will be sent from the neighbouring districts. The nodal officers are also visiting the affected districts and taking effective action,” he said.
P.C. Kishan, Secretary (Animal Husbandry & Gopalan), said while the highest impact of the disease had been reported from Jodhpur division, only 1% to 1.5% of the infected bovines had died because of their weakness and low immunity. The Collectors of the affected districts were in constant touch with veterinary doctors for taking action to prevent the spread of the infection, he added.