WHO SHALL SUFFER? ONLY THE ANIMALS AND FARMERS.

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Bhubaneswar:

The State Government has decided to appoint veterinary doctors on contractual basis on consolidated salary. Vets who have qualified for the job through interviews are opposing this. It has posed a threat to animal husbandry and farmers by jeopardizing the veterinary environment. If on application of mind, it is a conspiracy against the simple people of Orissa. If not, it is an instance of how mindlessly the administration is running.

Industry and commerce do not support the common man in Orissa. Animals are the principal source of his sustenance. His life depends totally on animal resources and fishery.

Had there been any industrial importance given to the animal sector, Orissa would have excelled in economy. But, it has never happened. The State has not yet even thought of an official policy on animal resources and fishery. As a result, notwithstanding the highest concentration of cultivators in its soil, the largest coastal belt, abundance of rivers, reservoirs and lakes, and presence of commercial as well as co-operative banks in every bloc, the consumers of Orissa depend almost entirely on supply of fishery and poultry as well as dairy products from the Telugu cultivators.

Non-Oriya officers in the funding institutes as well as in Orissa Administration, particularly those born in Andhra, have never encouraged any Oriya cultivator to pursue fortune in the above sector. Farmers of Bijipur had once told this reporter how their appeal to the then chief of NABARD, who was in tour in the area, for funds for dairy and poultry was turned down without application of mind. The Andhra Chief Minister was marked for his prompt presence and personal involvement in road cleaning in Orissa immediately after the super-cyclone of 1999 that had earned him high acclaim from all quarters at that time. But his aim was not to assist the people of Orissa, which was proved by his demands for refund of the money his government had spent on the work. His motive behind his endeavor was clearly overloaded by anxiousness to restore the Andhra market in Orissa. If animal resources improve in Orissa, it is Andhra that would face problems in marketing its products. Therefore, there is a conspiracy to keep Oriya farmers away from the avocation of fishery, poultry and dairy. An instance that may throw light on this probability is the case of Sri Naresh Chandra Pattanayak of Tigiria in the district of Cuttack. His house stands on a big patch of land of his own family. It has a water pond overhead and a huge dug-well fitted with a jet pump. The soil is fertile and fit for cultivating green fodder for cattle. It is, in opinion of experts, the best patch of land in the locality for operation of a multi-purpose farming that would include fishery, poultry and dairy. Sri Pattanayak has a family to feed but is not employed. He depends totally on traditional cultivation of paddy and vegetables that doesn’t grant him adequate sustenance. He was keenly interested in using his patch of land for poultry and dairy. But availability of proper veterinary services in the area discouraged him in pursuing that vocation. Many, many men like Naresh are perishing in Orissa in spite of having the land and the urge to pursue their fortune in dairy and poultry simply because veterinary doctors worth the salt are not available in their respective areas and this specific situation has handed over Orissa’s consumers to the market-seekers of Andhra.

It is in this context the Orissa Government’s latest decision to keep qualified veterinary doctors devoid of job stability deserves attention. Nowhere in the State the veterinary hospitals are well equipped. The doctors are not well paid. They do not have adequate avenues of promotion. They are not given any opportunity to re-orient themselves with the latest knowledge in their field in course of service. There is a marked lack of incentive in the sector. When the position is so bleak, the State Government has decided to recruit vets on contract. The same doctors who were called for an interview and were selected for posts carrying a time scale of pay; have to be devoid of that and to face job insecurity as their services shall be contractual and salary consolidated.

They may be bound to accept this insulting offer notwithstanding their initial resentment; because most of them have borrowed money for pursuing their study and shall have to repay the amount immediately on refusing to accept the job. But, would it ensure their involvement and dedication to the job?

If the government refuses to heed to their appeal, the Vets who shall accept the appointment shall no doubt suffer. But in reality, the animal resources of Orissa shall suffer, the farmers shall suffer and suffering shall be the consumers of the State. This avoidable mischief is being played either because of a tactful conspiracy from the neighboring State of Andhra which would benefit from a weak veterinary network in Orissa or because, the policy framers in Orissa are unable to foresee the adverse impact of their action on the animal resources segment of the State.(SCP)

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