Cover Story: Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Professionals

Left in the lurch

Farooq Ahmad Sopori

Srinagar: In a sprawling campus of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry at Shahuma, Aliya (named) a student of second year is ruing her career choice. She is not alone there are scores of students who are livid as there are lack of future prospects in the field due to failure of the government to create vacancies in animal and sheep husbandry departments.

In absence of any opportunities in the private sector, public sector is their only hope.

“I was among 100 odd students who were selected in the campus. But looking at the plight of our seniors, my future looks gloomy as a result of which most of the students  are applying for junior assistant to naib tehsildar posts,” she said.

Narrating their sordid tale, veterinary students state that our colleagues are suffering with mental diseases and are taking medicines for treating the unemployment trauma.

Citing examples of  Iqbal and Idrees, they said that they are live examples who are being treated in Chandigarh and Skims, respectively.

“Educated vets are joining now class 4th and other professions. Dr Riyaz, with masters in surgery is a livestock assistant now whose boss is 12th pass Abdul Qadir. Hundreds of vets are working at emoluments lesser than a labour in slaughter houses in Chandigarh, Meerut and Aligarh. Dr Mohsin, a PhD in animal nutrition has joined now an NGO to visit farmers door to door in the remote deserts of Rajasthan.

As per the details of Unemployed veterinary doctors association,  around 74 vets are at the verge of over age and have suicidal tendencies.

Since 2010 there has been successive decrease in the announcement of vacancies with just 24 vacancies announced in 2016.

The Issue

The number of unemployed vets in state has crossed 1300 which include postgraduates and PhD scholars! Almost 700 vets are with PhDs and Masters degrees.

There has been meagre recruitment of vets in last 10 years as compared to other departments like medicos. There has been a creation of only 14 new posts from 1984 to 1989 and since then no new post has been created.

In spite of an increasing demand of veterinary hospitals in the state, hardly government has or is taking any step to meet it. The urgent requirement of Veterinarians in the state was put forth more than 1200 (as per VCI regulations) as mentioned in the records of Department of Animal and Sheep husbandry under the title “Implementation of District Development Board Decision 2006-2007”.

The same was refused for one or the other reason even in the tenure of two Ministers

of Animal and Sheep Husbandry. After panaroma of discussions and series of rejections, the Planning Department agreed the creation of 420 posts in September 2012.

The seriousness and urgency of the requirement was such that it took eight complete years for the Planning department to clear the file in March 2015 and now the same is stacking in finance department.

Unemployed Veterinarians speak

President, Unemployed veterinary doctors association, Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad said having vacancy why don’t they recruit the veterinarians, we fail to understand. When the animal husbandry department of state demands immediate creation of posts and plan approves same, why the finance is halting same? When there has been creation of new districts, new tehsils, new blocks why not the new posts for new districts, tehsils and blocks?

The state has two veterinary colleges where the capacity has been increased from 20 to 110 students per year per college in last 10 years. We fail to understand where the pass outs will go when the state is unable to absorb pass outs from 2000 batch even?

Dear friends, the grave situation of the department can be ascertained from the fact that a single VAS is holding five to six charges and the officers who have been promoted to higher posts are retaining the VAS posts simultaneously which in no way is justified.

There are vacant posts of DD’s, SDO’s, LDO’s, BVO’s etc which are taken care of by lower rung staff. The current Directors are simultaneously occupying 3-4 posts each. If there would be one post one man, there will be immediate vacancy of more than 250 posts.

We met all the ministers from 2010-2017 right from CM to finance minister to Animal husbandry minister, but are returned with empty promises. Though honorable minister announced even on radio programs, speedy recruitment of veterinary officers but there was smoke only in air. And the file with file No.ASH/PLAN-670/2007 is dusting at the tables of bureaucrats with enclosed dreams of highly qualified veterinarians.

The agony

Lack of infrastructure and adequate facilities is one of the hurdles in underdevelopment of livestock. Agony is that being highest meat consuming state we don’t have any registered slaughter house, any meat exporting unit where by our neighbouring state is having 317 slaughter houses and 24 meat exporter units.

A PHD veterinary scholar, Dr. Firdous Ahamd said that prime reason behind underdevelopment of the state is lack of qualified veterinary staff. It can be well understood from the fact that 2445 veterinary centres have near about 600 veterinary doctors in the state. In Kashmir Valley there are only 199 veterinarians in Animal Husbandry with about 739 veterinary centers managed by paravets and in Sheep Husbandry Department with about 100 vets they are trying to make the valley meat sufficient.

He said that same is the case with Jammu where there are only 60 VAS in the sheep

husbandry. With such a meagre staff how the state is going to be at par with other states?

How the state is going to achieve self sufficiency in meat, milk, chicken, eggs, wool and

other aspects of livestock production. The Veterinarians do not have a role in treatment and upliftment of the existing livestock only but also in making the state self sufficient.

Veterinarians are the liaison between Government and farmers, which are backbone of the economy of state. Veterinarians can contribute majorly to the economic sufficiency of the state by helping in optimisation of production, by generation of employment and revenue, by reducing livestock loses due diseases, by proper inseminations and pregnancy diagnosis, by expertise management and proper nutrition. Veterinarians are extension officers who make the schemes launched by Government successful, who implement the breeding policies and genetic improvement programes which till now are rarely seen in the Animal and sheep husbandry departments. genetic improvement programes which till now are rarely seen in the Animal and sheep husbandry departments.

The demand

Nearly 70% people are directly or indirectly involved with the agriculture and allied sectors. The livestock sector has emerged as one of the key components of growth in developing countries in the recent years. This sector is emerging as important growth leverage to state economy. Estimated livestock & Poultry Population of the state, as per the latest available integrated sample survey (ISS), is 167.407 lac comprising 38.569 lac cattle, 39.204 lac sheep, 7.889 lac Buffalo, 18.136 lac goat, 58.311 lac fowl and 5.298 lac duck.

The total estimated milk production for the State was 1614.57 thousand MTs. Average per capita availability of milk in our state was 378.10 gms per day which is higher than the national average of 356 gm per person per day. The total wool production estimated for the State was 75.295 lacKgs. Estimated total egg production of the State for the year was 6519.758 lacs. Total eggs availability per person was worked out to be 55 (number) per year for the State. Meat production registered a growth from 308.986 lac Kgs to 322.781 lacKgs over the previous year resulting into 4.47% growth.

But still the state is lagging far behind, in livestock development and in meeting the demand of people. As a part of food habit, per capita consumption of meat, poultry and milk is higher in J&K than rest of the India, but the state is deficient in meat, poultry, eggs and milk production thus making state to heavily rely on imports from other states.

The state which should export livestock and livestock products is still importing the same worth hundreds of crores annually from different states like Punjab and Rajasthan. Thus draining the state economy and leading to economic repercussions as well. The state is importing near about 14 lakh sheep annually contributing about 280 lakh kgs of mutton. The same costs about 7160 million rupees to state.

The mutton requirement to state is about 1121.78 lakh kgs but we  are able to produce only 300.62 lac kgs and are deficit in 821.16 lakh kgs. We are importing 382 lac Day Old Chicks annually draining an income of about 764 million rupees. State is  importing about 59.18 lakh broilers, 18.14 lakh layers 5.03 lakh parents and 153.86 lakh eggs annually which amounts to about 935.208 million rupees.

In milk production state has reached near about self sufficiency but still we are lagging far behind neighbouring states. Agony is that being green state we are unable to produce surplus milk which could be converted to milk products like butter, ghee, channa, khoa, shirkhund, paneer, cottage cheese, sweets etc and the same requires milk processing units and milk products industries. Despite availability of natural pastures the State is 67% deficit in green fodder and 27.31% in dry fodder. Most of the concentrates for livestock and poultry feeding are imported.

Official speaks

A Commissioner Secretary rank official condition of anonymity said that Governor has taken personally taken this matter with concerned departments.

“A delegation of unemployed veterinarians had met his excellence who has issued direction for redressal of their grievances which include creation of veterinary posts which haven’t been advertised for past many years”, he told Ziraat Times.

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