The Delhi High Court Wednesday sought the response of the Delhi government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to a plea seeking constitution of a team of veterinary doctors in each zone to deal with cases of lumpy skin disease in cattle and to set up isolation wards for treatment of the infected animals.
The plea came up before a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad which listed it for further hearing on October 14. The petition also sought a direction to the authorities to make available an antidote to stop the spread of disease among cows and wanted stray cattle be vaccinated on priority.
It said immediate action and remedial steps are needed to eliminate the contagious viral disease which has killed nearly 70,000 cattle in the country till date and the numbers are increasing every day.
“Direct respondents to immediately constitute a team of veterinary doctors in every zone of Delhi and direct this team to deal and address cases of lumpy disease,” the plea filed by petitioner Ajay Gautam said.
Lumpy skin disease spreads among cattle through mosquitoes, flies, lice, and wasps by direct contact and also through contaminated food and water, and causes fever and nodules on the skin, reduced milk production, loss of appetite and watery eyes which can be fatal.
The plea submitted that the Centre recently said about 70,000 cattle have died so far due to the disease which has spread to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
“This disease has knocked the doors of Delhi too and has started affecting cows here. These infected cows strictly need medical treatments at the earliest,” it said, adding that only one isolation shelter has been set up by the authorities in Rewala, Khanpur in South West district for 4,500 cattle, even though there are more than 20,000 to 25,000 stray cows in the national capital.
Submitting that there is no ambulance service available for cows to send them to the isolation shelter or any other place, the plea urged the court to direct the authorities to reserve sufficient numbers of ambulances for dealing with cases of this disease.
It said no place has been identified, allotted or proposed by the respondents for burial of the deceased cows and sought adequate spaces for this purpose. “Due to sheer apathy and lack of determination on the part of respondents and absence of government infrastructure, the public has been constrained to approach and contact local gau sewaks or NGOs for help and they are treating and burying infected cows,” the plea said.
(With PTI inputs)