Udaipur- The indefinite strike by veterinary doctors across the state of Rajasthan has raised significant concerns among cattle rearers, as cases of Lumpi disease symptoms continue to surge. The strike, initiated by the Veterinary Doctors' Association, Rajasthan, began on September 18, demanding the implementation of the Non-Practice Allowance (NPA) benefit.
As approximately 2,300 veterinary doctors participate in the strike, the impact on animal healthcare and livestock welfare is becoming increasingly apparent. Dr. Indrajit Singh, President of the Veterinary Doctors' Association, Rajasthan, emphasized that their sole demand is the implementation of NPA. He explained that while the Kamadhenu insurance scheme is well-intentioned, the veterinary department faces resource limitations. Providing services directly to farmers in remote areas is both time-consuming and costly. He added, "Just to ensure that farmers can avail the scheme, we will have to burn our fuel, and the government is not compensating us for the additional work."
It's important to note that the association is not against the Kamadhenu scheme or its implementation. The scheme aims to insure approximately 1 crore cattle in the state.
Veterinary doctors argue that if they are required to work under the Kamdhenu scheme in addition to their regular duties, the government should provide them with an additional daily allowance to cover the extra workload.
The strike's impact on Udaipur district has been particularly distressing for cattle rearers and animal lovers alike. The absence of veterinary services has led to severe consequences for animals suffering from various ailments, including Lumpi disease.
Cattle farmers from Udaipur and Dungarpur districts gathered at the Multipurpose Veterinary Hospital complex in Udaipur to voice their concerns. Mr. Dayalal Patel from Sagwada, Dungarpur, shared his plight, stating that his seriously ill buffalo, valued at Rs 1 lakh, is not receiving treatment due to the vets' strike. Numerous other cattle farmers, such as Pushkar Dangi from Shobhagpura, Roshanlal Mali, Mohan Dangi, Bhanwar Sal Dangi, Tola Ram, expressed their distress over the inability to provide necessary treatment for their animals.
Even wildlife has not been spared. Mr. Radheshyam Menaria, a cattle farmer from Chirwa, recounted a heartbreaking incident where a severely injured langur, a type of wildlife, was sent to the Forest Department headquarters in Udaipur for treatment. However, due to the ongoing veterinarians' strike, the langur couldn't receive the expert care it needed, resulting in a tragic outcome.
Cattle rearers like Ghosar Mali from Bhopalpura, Chaturbhuj Suthar from Bhuwana, Yogesh Gayari from Titardi, and Daulat Singh from Gogunda expressed their frustration at not being able to get their animals' blood samples tested due to the strike. This has left them deeply disappointed and concerned about the health of their livestock.
Furthermore, the rise in cases showing symptoms of Lumpi disease among cows in the district has exacerbated the situation. Without access to specialized veterinary services, the diagnosis and treatment of these cases have been hampered.
The Kamdhenu Bima Yojana, a scheme lately launched by the Chief Minister, is facing challenges in its implementation on the ground due to the veterinarians' strike. The scheme aims to provide insurance coverage for animals. However, as a result of the strike, animals have not been able to obtain insurance. In the unfortunate event of an animal's death due to the strike, conducting post-mortem examinations, essential for making insurance claims, becomes impossible. This has raised concerns about the effectiveness of the Kamdhenu Bima Yojana and its ability to provide coverage for the 80 lakh animals registered in pre-inflation relief camps under the code of conduct.
Prominent cattle rearers and animal welfare organizations, such as Dimple Bhavsar from the Animal Feed Society and Kailash Vaishnav from Vriksh Sansthan, are urging the Chief Minister to intervene and bring an immediate end to the indefinite strike by veterinarians. They emphasize the critical importance of resuming veterinary services to save livestock and prevent further suffering.
Udaipur Veterinarian Association President Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sarda, General Secretary Dr. Suresh Jain, and program coordinator Dr. Om Prakash Sahu expressed concerns over the plight of animals and their desire to return to work as soon as the state government addresses the demand for NPA.
Speaking to The Mooknayak, Dr. Shakti Singh, Joint Director of the district, confirmed that all 82 doctors in the district are participating in the strike, further highlighting the scale of the issue. He said, " Rajasthan, the leading milk producer in India, boasts an impressive output of approximately 33.3 million metric tons of milk. This dairy-rich state is home to a vast population of livestock, including 13.9 million cattle and 13.7 million buffaloes. Rajasthan ranks first in the number of goats. To ensure the well-being of this extensive livestock, the state has established a network of 2096 veterinary hospitals, 48 polyclinics, 479 Field Veterinary Hospitals (FGVH), and 352 Block Veterinary Health Officers (BVHO). However, the ongoing strike by veterinary doctors in Rajasthan poses a serious threat to the livestock sector.
These government-run hospitals represent the sole source of healthcare for animals in Rajasthan, making the strike's continuation even more concerning. As the strike persists, the vital support system for Rajasthan's livestock is put in jeopardy, raising urgent questions about the well-being of these animals.
Speaking to The Mooknayak, Dr Bhupendra Bharadwaj, retired Joint Director , Animal Husbandry Department said, " Animal vaccination is a year-round commitment, with particular importance during the rainy and summer months when diseases can spread rapidly among livestock. Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is a fatal disease that claim hundreds of lives of cattle and other hoofed animals specially in rural areas of the state. Vaccinating animals is a difficult task compared to human beings.
While the heroic efforts of medical staff during the COVID-19 pandemic received well-deserved recognition, it's crucial not to overlook the dedicated veterinarians working in the Animal Husbandry Department. Despite their tireless efforts in the field, these veterinarians often go unrecognized and unappreciated for the sacrifices they make."
Dr Bharadwaj assert, " The Non-Practicing Allowance (NPA) is a legitimate demand that has been on the table for years. Veterinarians regularly venture into the field to administer vaccinations and provide care to animal patients. However, they do not receive additional compensation for the fuel expenses incurred during these essential missions."
As the strike continues to impact the welfare of animals and the livelihoods of cattle rearers, there is a growing urgency for the state government to engage in dialogue with the Veterinary Doctors' Association and find a resolution that addresses the doctors' concerns while ensuring the well-being of livestock across Rajasthan.