Watch: Rural Assam in dire straits as ASF wreaks havoc amid govt apathy
Pigs in Assam suffering from ASF

Guwahati: Assam residents had barely recovered from the devastating floods when African Swine Fever returned to the state. The livelihood of thousands of people in rural Assam have been affected by the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF). The state government has declared 72 locations in 22 districts as epicentres of African Swine Fever under the Prevention and Control of Infections and Contagious Disease in Animals Act, 2009.

Hajo development block in Kamrup district is among the 72 epicentres in the state. There are over 130 villages in Hajo alone. Many of the villagers here depend on pig farming for their livelihood. Bishnupur village residents in the Hajo development block, however, accused veterinary in-charge Dilip Pathak of failing to control the outbreak of African Swine Fever due to irregularities in his performance.

Biren Das, who used to own 102 pigs, now has none. He also accused the government vet, Dilip Pathak, of charging Rs 300 to 400 per visit, which should otherwise be free of cost, as per the government norms.

It must be mentioned that this is not the first outbreak of African Swine Fever. In 2020, Assam announced a compensation scheme for farmers affected by ASF. According to the state’s agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry minister Atul Bora, Assam has already spent Rs 1.48 crore in compensating farmers whose pigs were culled. As per government norms, after ASF spreads in a particular area, farmers should receive compensation within ten days. However, the ground reality in Hajo says otherwise, as this video by EastMojo shows.

Also Read | The ‘other’ pandemic: How swine fever ravaged Mizoram’s pork industry

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