Bhubaneswar, Nov 25: Once contemplating for mass culling of pigs, confirmed as the host of deadly Japanese Encephalitis which so far has claimed 117 lives in Malkangiri, the Odisha government has now decided to offer monetary assistance to prospective farmers in tribal-dominated district to promote pig farming in the region. According to an official, the job card holders under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) can avail the facility. For a 20 meter square area, the government has estimated a total expenditure of Rs 50,000. But the applicant must have his/her own land for this project. This was informed by Bishnupad Sethy, secretary, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry department.
It’s stated that the department has sent a proposal in this regard to Panchayati Raj department. The announcement has brought joy among the tribal villagers. Locals feel the initiative will not only help increase pig population in the region, but also push cultural retention. They said keeping pigs is part of their culture and no marriage is complete without it. Health experts had questioned the presence of pigs inside human habitation after it was found that the pigs are the host of Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. The disease gets transmitted from pigs to mosquitoes and from mosquitoes to human beings specially children between the age of one and six years.