The Bharatiya Janata Party today held a massive protest demonstration in Jaipur over the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) that has killed over 57,000 cattle in Rajasthan and affected another 11 lakh. Protesters clashed with the police, breaking barricades and raising slogans after they were prevented from marching to the state assembly.
The BJP has been raising also raised the issue in the state assembly. On Monday, a BJP legislator brought a cow outside the state assembly premises to draw the state government’s attention towards the lumpy skin disease.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has demanded that the central government declare lumpy disease as a national calamity.
He said, “Our priority is how to save the lives of cows from lumpy skin disease. The Centre has to give the vaccine and medicines, so in such a situation we are demanding the Centre to declare it a national calamity.”
The disease has also hit milk collection in Jaipur, resulting in a rise in the prices of sweets manufactured in the state. According to Jaipur Dairy Federation, the biggest milk cooperative in the state, milk collection is down by 15-18 per cent, though there has so far been no disruption in supply.
Chief Minister Gehlot has expressed concern about the prevailing situation, as animal husbandry constitutes the backbone of Rajasthan’s economy. Milk is the primary source of income for farmers in this desert state. He has written to the Centre, asking the government to declare LSD a national calamity, as it has spread to 13 states.
Om Poonia, the Chairman of Jaipur Dairy Federation, said daily milk collection is down to 12 lakh litres, from the usual 14 lakh litres.
In his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Gehlot has stressed the need for additional aid to counter the disease and has also asked for Rajasthan to be given a priority once a vaccine is ready.
While there is still no vaccine to counter the disease, the goat pox vaccine has proved to be effective. Rajasthan has 16.22 lakh goat pox vaccine doses, with which 12.32 lakh cattle have been vaccinated so far. However, with more than 11 lakh animals affected by the virus and with 51,000 cattle deaths in the state, livestock is in danger as cases of Lumpy are on the rise.