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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Open letter to Ashok Gehlot: Protect Rajasthan’s cattle and people’s livelihood

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The lumpy skin disease is wreaking havoc in the state of Rajasthan, which is the worst-hit, and if something colossal is not done soon, it will start ravaging the dairy industry of the state, which is one of the most prized possessions of Rajasthan. Along with this, the backbone of the rural economy, the animal fairs, which are organized on large scales, have already been adversely affected.

If we look at the official figures released by the animal husbandry department, till September 8th, 10, 61, 787 bovines have been infected with the lumpy virus in Rajasthan, out which a total of 46, 317 cows have died. While cattle in the state is being infected at high rates and a large number of deaths are being reported, a mere 6, 87, 375 bovines have been vaccinated till now.

In different cities of the state, one can see helpless cattle roaming around, with lumps on their bodies oozing blood, unable to stand or walk properly. Such scenarios are not healthy to witness, especially when the state is highly dependent on cattle and dairy products. And now, while the people of the state, especially those who own cows and buffaloes, are asking for help from the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government, it can clearly be seen that no crucial measures are being taken by the state government in order to ensure the curb on the spread of this disease.

On the one hand, where the statistics related to the infections are scary, 7 districts in the state have, till now, reported zero vaccination. The list includes Ashok Gehlot’s home turf of Jodhpur district as well. The other 6 districts are Barmer, Pali, Bikaner, Nagaur, Jaisalmer and Dhaulpur. Western Rajasthan has been the most-affected region of the state.

The situation is such, that dead bodies of cattle are being piled in landfills and disposing them off has become a big menace.

In the wake of these horrendous circumstances across the state, I would like to ask the Chief Minister of the state, Ashok Gehlot as to what exactly is the action-plan against the spread of the disease and more importantly, when do you plan to actually work towards the implementation of the same; because startlingly, your home-district is among the districts with zero vaccination!

And while your advisor, Babulal Nagar, is threatening crowds to chant slogans like ‘Ashok Gehlot zindabad’, it is your duty, as the CM of the state, that people appreciate you because of the right actions you take and not because of being coerced by your accomplices.

At this point in time, I can assure you that the people of Rajasthan are disgruntled and angry with you, CM Gehlot, let alone speaking in your favour or appreciating you, because they are aware of the fact that thousands of innocent cattle are dying, their dead bodies piling up and reeking, and the scale of vaccination in the state is way below satisfactory.

The dissatisfaction of Rajasthan’s people can be gauged through the calls of ‘Rajasthan Band’. People have joined hands in order to protest against the inaction of the government in relation to looking after the affected cattle and protecting the others. People all across the state are spreading the word among others, to protest and make sure the Rajasthan Band is executed successfully on 15th September.

Remember, CM Gehlot, that Rajasthan’s people have still not forgotten the ghastly rule proposed by you, under which no family would be able to rear more than one cow, and to make matters worse, your government’s lackadaisical attitude towards the lumpy virus disease has strengthened the feeling of anger among everyone.

On the behalf of all the people of Rajasthan, I appeal to you to take this disease seriously as the lives of cattle and livelihoods of innumerable people are at stake, and currently, the paradox in your actions is just preposterous, where on the one hand, you have asked the Centre to declare the disease a ‘national calamity’, on the other, districts which are located in the worst-hit pocket of Western Rajasthan, have not even seen the start of vaccination yet. With this, all of us can say that there is a long way for you to go, while you haven’t even started yet.

It is time for you to rise above petty politics and start taking steps, or else the wrath of the people will not take time to reach its peak, and you, as the CM, will certainly not like all operations in the state to stop time and again, with one Rajasthan Band in two days, and then more such protests coming your way !

Sonakshi Datta
Sonakshi Datta
Journalist who wants to cover the truth which others look the other way from.

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