Govt. did not vaccinate cows against foot-and-mouth disease, he says.
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Livelihood lost: Raj Kumar with the calf carcasses, protesting near the Puducherry Assembly on Monday. | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

A dairy farmer protested near the Assembly on Monday with the carcasses of three calves that had died due to foot-and-mouth disease. He demanded compensation from the government for the loss of his livelihood.

Raj Kumar, a farmer residing at Kavi Kuyil Nagar in Kamaraj Nagar constituency, brought the dead animals and staged a sit-in dharna. According to him, four calves died three days ago, and on Monday, three more died due to the disease.

The government has not given vaccination for the viral disease, he said, alleging that he had approached the Animal Husbandry Department several times to get his cows and calves inoculated. The department has sited shortage of vaccines for the delay, Mr. Raj Kumar added.

“Losing seven calves is an additional burden for me. Already the rain has caused a dent in my income. The government should immediately provide compensation for the loss,” he told reporters.

Supply shortage

When contacted, G. Selvaraj, Director of Animal Husbandary, told The Hindu that the Government of India had only started to supply the vaccine for the disease only by October. Since the arrival of the vaccine, the department has covered around 70% of the total 67,000 registered animals. “The shortage was due to COVID-19 restrictions. We did not get the vaccines for several months. The remaining animals will be covered in a few weeks.”

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