Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Veterinary doctors across Odisha have been staging protests in Bhubaneswar for around a month alleging negligence and a step-motherly attitude of the State government. As a result, scores of farmers are suffering without getting any treatment for their sick pets & livestock in the absence of doctors at the veterinary centres. 

However, the government seems to be less perturbed about the ordeal of the veterinary doctors and farmers depending upon animal husbandry for their livelihood in the State. Rather, the State government is allegedly trying its best to eyewash the farmers and woo them to vote for the ruling party by organising a conclave on fisheries and animal resources in Bhubaneswar.

As per reports, the veterinary doctors in the State have been on mass leave since January 18. They have been staging massive protests in Bhubaneswar demanding cadre restructuring, referral facilities, transformation of the service delivery system, and free treatment of animals. However, there is no sign of negotiation by the government. The doctors have warned the government that they will intensify their agitation from February 20 if their demands are not met. 

“We are worried as the farmers are suffering due to the strike. However, we are forced to continue the protest as our passion for work is diminishing due to the neglect by the government. We are hopeful that our demands will be fulfilled following a discussion with the government. Otherwise, we will intensify our protest by starting a hunger strike from February 20,” said Simphany Mohanty, Joint Secretary of the Odisha Veterinary Service Association.

Treatment of domestic animals has been severely affected due to the protest. Mainly, poultry and dairy farm owners from various parts of the State are bearing the brunt as livestock healthcare service has been completely derailed.

Several farmers participating in the conclave on fisheries and animal resources in Bhubaneswar have expressed their resentment over the indifferent attitude of the government toward veterinary doctors.

“The veterinary doctors are staging protest due to the negligence of the government. As a result, livestock healthcare service has been severely affected across the State. The government should discuss with the veterinary doctors on a priority basis to solve their issues rather than organising conclave on fisheries and animal resources,” said Basant Sahu, a dairy farmer.

“The farmers are the worst sufferers due to the strike. The government should solve the issues of veterinary doctors soon for the benefit of farmers in the State,” said Sumanta Sahu, another dairy farmer.

However, responding to the situation, Odisha Animal Resources Development Minister, Ranendra Pratap Swain said that the government is concerned for the larger interests of the people.

“Had the veterinary doctors been present at the conclave, it would have been better. They belong to our family. But, they must understand the dynamics. The conclave is meant for the farmers in the State and the government is concerned for the larger interests,” said Swain.