Restructuring of the Breeding department on the cards

A makeover is underway for the Livestock Department, with a major focus on restructuring departmental institutions in favor of farmers and increased vigilance against disease.

Livestock Director, MK Prasad, last week delivered an internally prepared draft report containing the recommendations to Livestock Minister, K. Raju. It emphasizes the scientific restructuring of departmental checkpoints to prevent the spread of diseases like foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) by animals trucked in from neighboring states.

At present, only two of the department’s 18 rinderpest (RP) control posts have veterinarians, the project points out. Their presence is essential for an effective diagnosis of the disease. Many checkpoints have also not been repositioned despite the development of roads and the modification of routes. All checkpoints, the report adds, should also have a minimum of three livestock inspectors.

Fill vacancies

Highlighting the need to fill critical vacancies, including that of laboratory technicians, the draft suggests a series of structural changes to allow department veterinarians to devote more time to disease control measures and interaction with farmers.

He recommends the creation of more breeding centers at the taluk level. This will help increase efficiency and reduce the burden on district livestock officers who are currently in charge of all these institutions in a district.

Relocation centers

The draft report recommends relocating veterinary sub-centres based on factors such as cattle population and geography. Although the state has 1,341 subcenters, many local agencies do not. At the same time, some panchayats with low cattle populations sport more than two centers. A redeployment would allow rapid services to farmers and reduce the workload of veterinary hospitals, the report points out.

If a district has several veterinary hospitals, they can be moved to agriculturally-oriented districts like Wayanad and Idukki, he says, in addition to defining measures to streamline veterinary polyclinics. Polyclinics should be open in all taluks and they should operate from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Currently, there are 50 polyclinics in the state.

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