Himansu Shekhar Rout

After 28 days of protests over their multiple demands, veterinary doctors of Odisha warned of launching a hunger strike, even as healthcare services for livestock in rural pockets have gone for a toss.

The agitating veterinary doctors have decided to stage a sit-in in Cuttack from February 16 and launch a hunger strike from February 20, as they alleged that the state government has failed to address their issues.    

As the veterinary doctors are on strike, people have been suffering across the state. People came along with their pets and domestic animals to the office of the chief district veterinary officer (CDVO) in Nabarangpur to complain about their problem but had to return disappointed. 

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Manas Ranjan Pattnaik, a poultry farmer of Jharigaon said, "Without the help of the veterinary doctors, managing poultry farms is very difficult. For the last three weeks, we have been unable to avail of their service because of their agitation."  

Ananda Mohapatra, a resident of Jeypore in Koraput has a number of dogs of different breeds. He is worried that if one of his pets falls sick, the service of the veterinary doctors will be out of bounds for him because of the strike. 

Sita Lal, a resident of Jeypore said, “Those who have kept pets like dogs and birds are now facing problems as veterinary doctors are on strike.” 

The veterinary doctors are demanding a restructuring of the Veterinary Department, free veterinary services to domestic animals and pets, 24/7 service, cadre restructuring, and promotion with the Central pay scale among others. 
Dr Sagarika Dash of Sambalpur accused the government of not listening to their demands despite several rounds of discussion. 

Dr Shankarshan Mohapatra, general secretary of the Odisha State Veterinary Services Association said, “The main objective of our agitation is that the government should give equal importance to veterinary like healthcare. If the government does not come out to fulfil our demands, we will start a hunger strike.”

The agitating veterinary doctors said that their discussion with the government was held on February 12, but it was not successful.

No comments were received from the concerned government authorities.