Veterinary Doctors in the State on the Warpath
Burgeoning burden of clerical work and the reluctance of the state government to look into the real cause of foot and mouth disease have forced veterinary doctors to launch a strike and stop undertaking any animal husbandry projects of LSGD worth crores of rupees.
The doctors said the Foot and Mouth Disease is still spreading in many parts of the state. The government knows the loopholes in Foot and Mouth Disease vaccination. But they are yet to acknowledge it, said Kerala Government Veterinary Officers Association (KGVOA) officials.
“A week before the vaccination, the animals should be dewormed. But that procedure is hardly ever carried out. The vials used for vaccination are handled very carelessly which ruins their efficacy and purpose. One vial contains 100 ml of medicine and 50 animals could be vaccinated with the use of this one vial. But in reality, the reckless handling makes the vial less potent with every use. The vial preserved in a box containing ice will be opened around 40 times if 40 houses are covered, thereby diluting its efficiency. As they could not cover more than 40 houses, medicine is also wasted. Hence the IVF expert committee which conducted a study in this regard had put forth a suggestion that the quantity of medicine should be cut short to just 30 ml in one vial. But that was also not heeded,” he said. Subrata Viswas of the Animal Husbandry department said that he is not aware of the situation.
Dr Binil B Chandran, secretary, Kerala Government Veterinary Officers Association, Alappuzha, said that the vaccination is given after a period of six months but its immunity lasts only for four months and the disease can spread during the two months’ respite. Hence they had asked for the animals to be provided vaccination three times a year.
Though they accepted it in-principle, they did not implement it.
“The clerical work is also increasing beyond limits. Though an order issued by the government in June 2013 that the livestock inspectors under the Regional Artificial Insemination Centre (RAIC) would be transferred to the panchayat hospitals,the Kerala Government Veterinary Officers Association alleged that there is a conspiracy to revoke that order.
“If the order is implemented, it would have given us an additional hand. The livestock inspectors currently do not have much work other than artificial insemination in animals and have to carry out only one or two such procedures a day. They have ample spare time which they could use for other jobs. By this order, they would have to assist us,” he said.
Besides, the government is not implementing the Geetha Potti Commission report on department restructuring and pay-scale rectification, said Dr C K Prem Kumar, president, Kerala Government Veterinary Officers Association, Alappuzha.
“The department is following an extremely obsolete structure which is about 60-years-old, consisting of a senior veterinary surgeon, a livestock inspector, an attendant and a part-time sweeper in the hierarchy. But we are over-burdened with many other projects. As a result, our primary work of imparting treatment has got sidelined,” he said.