Swine carcasses floating in Loktak lake panics many in ASF-hit Manipur
Imphal: Amid the strenuous efforts taken up by the state government to fight the soaring cases of the highly contagious African Swine Fever (ASF), a large number of pig carcasses have been found floating in Loktak lake, triggering a panicky situation among the fishing community and villagers staying on the banks of the lake.
There have also been reports of dead pigs floating in some rivers in the valley districts that fall into Loktak, the biggest freshwater lake in the northeast region.
According to Manipur veterinary and animal husbandry (VAH) department, ASF has been detected at pig farms in Imphal West, Bishnupur, Imphal East, Ukhrul, Thoubal, Kakching and Kamjong districts.
The latest ASF outbreak has been reported at five pig farms in Imphal West district’s Lilong Chajing Mamang Leikei, Konthoujam Maning Leikai, Loitang Khunou, Luker and Sairemkhul.
“We have seen more than thirty carcasses of pigs floating in Loktak mostly on its eastern side since the past few days. This has triggered fear among the people mostly the fishing community,” Oinam Rajen, secretary of All Loktak Lake Fishermen’s Union Manipur (ALLAFUM) said on Friday.
“Besides the disgusting smell spreading out from the highly decomposed dead pigs brought down by the rivers into the lake, many fishermen are reluctant to move near to the floating areas mostly on the eastern side of the lake,” Rajen said, adding that there might be more such carcasses floating on other parts of the lake.
Rajen, on behalf of the union, demanded the government, particularly the VAH department and the law enforcing agencies to look into the matter and take necessary measures to ensure no dead pigs are thrown into the rivers.
As per the notifications issued by the respective district administrations, the particular pig farms from which ASF have been reported as the disease’s epicenters, and areas within one km radius of them as infected zone and areas within 10m km radius from the same as surveillance zone, while the whole areas have been categorized as controlled areas.
The notifications strictly prohibit movement of pigs (dead or alive) in the controlled areas, “movement and sales of pork and feed within the infected zone and materials that could have contacted the infected or suspected to be infected animals.”
Culling of all pigs of the infected zone should be done by the officials of VAH department, the notifications said, adding that all equipment/ tools and vehicles used in the farms that are having pigs, either infected or suspected to be infected, should be restricted from movement without protocols.