Having killed over 55,000 cattle since its outbreak in July, the lumpy skin disease continues to spread like wildfire in Rajasthan.
Due to this disease the milk production in Rajasthan has tanked by 21% in the month of August.
The Tanked Milk Production
Due to this outbreak, the milk production has been severely affected and the the collection across the state has been reduced by 5-6lakh litre per day said Senior official of Rajasthan Cooperative Dairy Federation (RCDF).
Due to the aggressive efforts to increase the collection by the department, the reduced collection has not affected the demand supply ratio of milk.
As per RCDF about 27.54lakh litre per day milk was being collected at collection centres in the month of August.
As compared to the estimated figure of 35lakh litre per day, the collection is estimated to have reduced by 6 to 8 lakh litre per day. Same happened for July, the target was 30lakh litre per day whereas it was 23.60lakh per day that was actually realized.
However, since monsoon, the milk collection is estimated to increase. Due to the disease, in parts of western Rajasthan’s Barmer districts, the milk production at many places has almost come down to zero.
Bhikharam Choudhary. President of Barmer Dugdh Utpadak Sahkari Samiti Limited (Milk Production Cooperative Committee) said that two months back when the situation was normal, total milk collection per day was around 15,000litres of which 70% was of cows.
He said that “Due to lumpy, which has mostly hit the cows, we are hardly getting 1000litres of cow milk, that too is not regular”.
There are total of 72 operation milk federations in Barmer and out of these, 10% have gone non-operational as they were totally dependent on cow milk.
Due to the disease, a large population has died resulting in reduced milk production.
A cattle rearer from Dedavaas village said that “Earlier I was selling around 15litres of cow milk per day but today I am buying it for personal needs. All three cows have died from this disease.”
Not just the milk production, but the disease has raised the price of animals.
Due to this disease, a cow costing between ?10,000 to 15,000 is now costing between ?30-40,000.
Ramchandra Choudhary, President, Ajmer Dugdh Utpadak Sahkari Samiti said that “Before lumpy, per day collection was 2.70lakh litre, which has now reduced to 2.45lakh litre. The collection gap is more when compared with the expected growth, which we were expecting to touch 3.50lakh litre per day”.
He also mentioned how lives of cattle rearers, who lost all cattle and were dependent on this livelihood has been ruined and said that “The GoI should declare it as a pandemic and ensure compensation”.
CM Asks Centre to Declare “Lumpy” as Pandemic
CM of state, Ashok Gehlot has asked the central government to declare the disease a pandemic. He said it has spread in 20 states, and like corona it should also be declared a pandemic, which will help in effective management of the disease.
He said that “Lumpy should be declared pandemic for effective management and ensuring relief to cattle owners and cow shelters”.
Animal husbandry minister Lalchand Kataria said all necessary steps are being taken by the department from spreading awareness to vaccination. Over 13.63lakh animals have been vaccinated in the state.
MD of RCDF, Sushma Arora said that due to increased milk procurement and support prices, opening of new routes as well as motivating farmers to connect with RCDF, they could steer through lumpy.
Leader of opposition, Gulab Chand Kataria said that the action plan taken towards the containment of lumpy is not significant and also that the deaths that are currently reported in thousands is actually in lakhs.
He said that “The CM is asking GoI to declare it a pandemic, why don’t they do it first? The state should also compensate for the cattle death”.
Due to the infectious lumpy skin disease, which has spread in all 33 districts of the state, more than 59,000 cattle, mainly cows, have died in Rajasthan.
A maximum of 4,870 deaths have been reported from Ganganagar, followed by Nagaur (4,729), Ajmer (4,025), Jaipur (3,636), Jodhpur (4,063), Sikar (3,556), and Hanumangarh (3,162).
Of the 13.02lakh infected animals, over 12.49 have been treated.