Caretaker setup fails to devise strategy to tackle Congo virus threat


–Hundreds of thousands of sacrificial animals entering city ahead of Eid pose great threat to residents’ health

–Sources say caretakers least bothered about animals carrying Congo virus ticks


LAHORE: The deadly Congo virus is posing a great threat to the population of the metropolis while both the city administration and the caretaker provincial government appear to be in deep slumber. It has been learnt that neither of the authorities concerned have yet devised a comprehensive strategy keeping in view the exposure to the virus with sacrificial animals entering the city ahead of Eidul Azha.

While all kinds of vaccinations of sacrificial animals are needed to be carried out at least a month before they are sent to the cities, no mechanism in this regard has yet been established.

City District Government Lahore has decided to set up seven makeshift markets at Arian Moor near Raiwind Road, Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Phase IX, Lakho Dair Vegetable Market, Sagian Pull near Usman Ghani Road, Government Employees Housing Society and Shah Pur Kanjran.

Lord Mayor Col (r) Mubahsar Javed has held a meeting with Metropolitan Corporation Chief Officer Mehmood Masud Tamana and other high ups; however, according to sources, the caretaker provincial government and officers of the Punjab Livestock Department are least interested to address the threat of Congo virus.

“The officers of Livestock and caretakers have no interest in setting up the temporary markets and issues related to the ticks carrying Congo virus. They know they will not be there when the new government will take charge,” sources told Pakistan Today.

“Punjab Livestock Department Secretary Mehmood Ahmed is going on a leave to attend training for his promotion to grade-21. If the secretary is leaving, who will counter these threats? Effective methods are available to tackle ticks carrying the virus, but this time, the Livestock Department is in no mood to launch a campaign,” they said.

“The city district government needs supports from the caretaker provincial government and the Livestock Department as it lacks manpower and finances to handle any livestock issues. CDGL is finding it extremely hard to carry out an effective campaign against the threat posed by Congo virus due to lack of funds. Hundreds of thousands of animals will be brought to Lahore ahead of Eid but no one is bothered,” sources added.

Dr Waqar Ahmed, a spokesperson of Punjab Livestock Department, on the other hand, said the department was doing its best to address the threat of Congo.

“The Livestock Department has constituted special teams for anti-tick sprays at all the entry points of the city and on all the borders of Punjab as animals would come in from other provinces as well,” he said, adding that all ticks were not lethal, but it would be made sure that every animal is sprayed before entering the city.