Guwahati, Tuesday, October 16, 2012
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Epidemic claims 343 cattle near Sualkuchi
Correspondent
 SUALKUCHI, Oct 15 So far, 343 cattle and buffaloes have died after being infected by an unidentified disease.

Moreover, nearly 500 to 600 cattle have been affected by the disease at Bathan, Srihati, Sarulah, Halogaon and Bamundi near Sualkuchi in the last two weeks. The disease has broken out in an epidemic nature among the cattle of the char areas, including Sarudia, Bardia, Laheswari and Gariyadia char.

The epidemic broke out after the second wave of floods on the sandy grass land which is being used by the farmers of Bathan, Srihati, Sarulah, Halogaon, Bamundi etc., for their cattle. Meanwhile, the outbreak of the disease has claimed 343 cows and buffalloes in the char areas.

One Jyotish Kalita of Bishnupur at Bamundi lost 104 milch cows and calves while Rupeswar Kalita and Pradip Bhuyan of Bamundi lost 21 and 8 cows respectively to the disease. Tarun Kalita of Bathan and Upen Kumar of Srihati lost 18 cows and 10 cows respectively, while Kamaleswar Nath and Ganesh Kalita of Sarulah area lost 8 to 10 cows. Nagen Medhi of Halogaon lost 12 cows. Most of them are dairy farmers and they earn their livelihood by selling milk. They tend milch cows in the grass land of the greater char areas of the Brahmaputra. The livestock farmers alleged that the State Veterinary department did not take necessary steps to prevent the disease. So the death toll is increasing day by day and the disease in spreading in the entire catchment areas of the Brahmaputra, they told this correspondent.

One of the farmers claimed that the medicine supplied by the district veterinary department was too meagre to meet the demands of the sick cows and buffalloes. He further added that veterinary doctor and para medical staff were not sufficient to offer service in the vast area. Another farmer said that the cows of the disease was yet to be ascertained and so the medical treatment of the sick cows were not effective. The Halogaon State Veterinary Hospital in-charge, Dr Naba Sarma while briefing this correspondent said that a team of veterinary doctors have been dealing with the affected cattle. The district veterinary department has supplied free medicine, including saline bottles. He admitted that the medicine supplied is sufficient though the disease has already spread to vast areas. He said that he had written to the veterinary department to supply more medicine and staff to cope with the situation.

Meanwhile, SK Ray, DC of Kamrup visited the disease prone areas on October 9 and took stock of the situation. He met the farmers and shared their sorrows. The farmers demanded compensation for their lost cattle and requested the DC to take immediate steps to prevent the disease. Roy said that he would discuss the matter with the Veterinary College Hospital authority and take initiative to send a team of experts to ascertain the cause of the disease.

The Deputy Commissioner was accompanied by ADC Hemkanta Bora, L Chaharia, circle officer of Hajo and Dilip Sarma, a social worker of Hajo.

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