Lumpy Skin Disease: HC Asks MCD to File Report on Burial of Cattle in City

 The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to file a status report on burial of cattle in the national capital.

The high court was hearing 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.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Yashwant Varma granted two weeks to the MCD to place on record the report and listed the matter for further hearing on May 17.

During the hearing, the court was informed that the municipal body has a specialised burial ground for cattle in Gazipur and the responsibility of disposal of animals rests with it.

Advocate Ajay Digpaul, appearing for the MCD, sought time to file on record a report on burial of cattle.

The high court had earlier issued notice and sought the response of the Delhi government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to the petition which also wanted direction to be issued to the authorities to make available an antidote to lumpy skin disease among cows. The petitioner sought stray cattle to be vaccinated on priority.

Petitioner Ajay Gautam said in the plea that 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 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. The disease can be fatal.

The plea submitted the Centre had 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 treatment at the earliest,” the petition said, adding 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.

It said no ambulance service is 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 number of ambulances for dealing with cases.

It said no place has been identified, allotted or proposed by the respondents for burial of the dead 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.

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