‘Sarpayagam’ to curb incidence of snakebites
The district administration is also extending Rs 2,000 as financial aid to the snakebite victims undergoing medical treatment.
VIJAYAWADA: In the wake of increasing snakebite cases in Avanigadda mandal of Krishna district, officials are making efforts to have sufficient stock of anti-venom vials and other needed medicines, including homeopathic drug ‘Naja-200’.
In a controversial move, the district administration has also decided to conduct ‘Sarpayagam’ and ‘Sarpa Dosha Nivarana Pooja’ at Subramanyeswara Swamy temple in Mopidevi on August 29 with the help of Endowments Department. The decision has raised many eyebrows and some sections of the society objected to it saying it was unscientific.
Speaking to TNIE, Jana Vignana Vedika State secretary K Srinivas said, “Performing yagams and poojas is nothing but promoting superstitious beliefs among people. Everyday, some or the other poojas have been taking place in Subramanyeswara Swamy temple in Mopidevi following snakebite incidents.
It is evident that the worship of Subramanyeswara Swamy has not resulted in any decline in snakebite cases. Instead of performing poojas incurring huge expenses, the officials should focus on supply of adequate stock of anti-venom vials to the government hospitals and PHCs and creating awareness among people on snakebites.”
When contacted Krishna District Collector B Lakshmikantham said, “Everyone is doing their best for bringing down the snakebite cases in Avanigadda mandal. Medical teams are distributing medicines. NGOs are catching snakes. Similarly, the Endowments Department has come forward to perform ‘Sarpayagam’ and ‘Sarpa Dosha Nivarana Pooja’.
We should not treat it as superstition as it is like any other yagam or pooja being performed in any temple.” “Ayush doctors have come forward to supply the homeopathic drug ‘Naja-200’ for snakebites. We agreed to it as we came to know that it works effectively to treat snakebites. We are distributing it in those villages where the incidence of snakebites is high. At the same time, anti-venom vials are also being given to the victims,” the Collector explained.
The district administration is also extending Rs 2,000 as financial aid to the snakebite victims undergoing medical treatment. Meanwhile, wildlife experts who are working with the State government, claim that the homeopathic drug does not work for the most venomous snakebites.
Murthy Kantimahanti, founder of Eastern Ghats Wildlife Society, and co-founder of Save the Snakes Foundation, said, “Homeopathic doctors who participated in the awareness campaign conducted in Krishna district on Saturday, spoke about the efficacy of homeopathic drug ‘Naja-200’ in treating snakebite cases. But, it is not an effective medicine for the most venomous snakebite of a cobra or a Russell’s viper, which are found in Avanigadda and Kodur mandals. Homeopathic medicines take time to reach the bloodstream. Before they show effect, hours will elapse and the venom of the aforementioned reptile species can spread all over the body killing the victim.”
Ajay Kartik, Assistant Curator of Madras Crocodile Bank, a wildlife research organisation founded by Romulus Whitaker, a wildlife expert who has done extensive study on snakes and worked with Andhra Pradesh’s Forest Department on various projects, said, “Naja-200 is not an effective drug to counter snake venom. Anti-venom is the only effective drug.”
However, homeopathic doctors are stating that they are registered and recognised under Homeopathic Society of India and the drug Act. Ravi Kumar, a leading homeopathic physician, said, “Naja-200 and DRONA are two drugs that are effective to treat snakebites. The drugs have been tested and they do work even in case of most venomous snakebites.”