Aizawl: Mizoram’s main opposition Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) on Friday asked the state government to immediately release compensation to swineherds who lost their pigs due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the state.
A statement issued by the party said that the Centre had in March released over Rs. 5.84 crore to the Mizoram government to compensate the pig farmers for their losses.
The state government failed to release the compensations till now even as one month has lapsed since animal husbandry and veterinary minister Dr. K. Beichhua’s announcement that he was hopeful to release the compensation at the earliest, the statement said.
The opposition party also asked the minister to make it clear whether the failure on the part of the state government to meet its 50 per cent share was the main reason for the delay.
Meanwhile, Dr. K. Beichhua said that efforts were on to release the compensation amount to the swineherds at the earliest. He said that the state government has to meet 50 per cent of the sanctioned fund as a matching share.
“The compensation could not be released as per our desire as it took time in the process of obtaining a 50 per cent matching share from the state government due to the beginning of the new financial year this month,” he said.
As per the Central scheme, the compensation did not cover those pigs that died due to ASF except those culled to prevent further spread of the pig disease, the minister said.
Dr Beichhua said they approached the state disaster department to accept the outbreak as a natural calamity and compensate the farmers who lost their pigs. However, the disaster management refused.
He added that the animal husbandry and veterinary department is mulling to approach the state planning department over the compensation. According to the animal husbandry and veterinary department, over 800 pigs have died since February due to the fresh outbreak of ASF.
Besides, more than 150 pigs suspected to be infected with ASF have also died during the same period and the actual cause of their deaths are yet to be ascertained, it said.
African Swine Fever (ASF) has currently affected 18 villages and localities in four districts of Mizoram. As many as 33,417 pigs have died due to the outbreak of ASF last year, causing monetary losses to the tune of Rs 60.82 crore.
A total of 10,910 pigs have also been culled to prevent further spread of ASF the same year. The highly-contagious pig disease, which was reported for the first time in March last year, was initially considered more or less contained as no pig death due to the outbreak was reported since December.
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