Sheep rearers decry govt apathy
With 32,000 sheep population, Pampore tehsil comprising 32 villages here has just four sheep extension veterinary centres, instead of eight required under rules. Hold on, there is more: There is no veterinary surgeon available for the entire tehsil.
The local sheep rearers said while the youth are showing keen interest to open sheep farms, the government “seems reluctant to provide proper healthcare to livestock.”
“This shows clear official apathy that there is no veterinary surgeon for 32 villages of Pampore and sheep breeders have to bear the brunt.
“Breeders have to travel district veterinary center Pulwama, 17 km from Pampore, to seek the medical advice for their livestock,” they said.
“We are earning fine in sheep rearing but lack of government attention has dismayed us. For a simple surgery we have to hire a vehicle to take our livestock to district veterinary centre Pulwama as we do not have one in Pampore,” said Shabir Ahmed a sheep breeder.
Breeders need the help of a surgeon at regular intervals especially during when the animal contracts some disease, during pregnancy, or when it is in prolapsed condition,” he added.
Sheep farming is a great business especially in a place like Kashmir where people are known as voracious meat eaters. “Over the past six years, youth have shown keen interest in sheep farming. In Pampore only fifty youths have established new sheep rearing units over past few years,” officials at Sheep Block Office Pampore informed.
There is overwhelming response to sheep rearing. “If the government provides proper healthcare and staff it will further flourish. The lack of veterinary surgeons, laboratory officers and sheep extension centres is a major hurdle to youth who are aiming start ups in sheep industry,” an official said.
Experts believe that Pampore “is most compatible zone for sheep rearing because of alpine nutrient-rich pasture zones like Sekwaz, Wusturwan, Babseer Gosane Naad, Khrew and Mandikhpal.”
Talking to Greater Kashmir, minister of state for animal and sheep husbandry, Zahoor Ahmed Mir admitted the inadequate staff and lack of veterinary centres in the area.
“I will look into this matter and at least one surgeon will be provided to Pampore very soon,” he said.