Life of people living in the landlocked Barabanghal village is on tenterhooks; over one dozen cattle and equal number of sheep have reportedly died due to rabies. As many as four people have reported symptoms of rabies but ironically the lackadaisical approach of the administration and bad weather has now put the life of villagers at risk.
Fearing for their life, considerable number of villagers has now migrated to Birh village. Villagers, who have recently left Barabhanghal, told Hindustan Times that about 12 cattle have reportedly died after being bitten by rabid dog.
"First time the rabid dog was spotted in the mid of October in the village. The dog attacked livestock in the village before the villagers killed it with stones," said Vijay Thakur, who is currently residing at Birh village.
Since the village is not accessible by road, satellite telephone installed in the village is the main source of information. But much to the chagrin of public, the telephones have become non-functional.
After animal deaths were reported from Barabanghal, the villagers approached Sub Divisional Magistrate Baijnath to seek his intervention in the matter. However, it is learnt that lack of communication and red tapism further added to the woes of villagers.
Panchayat Pradhan of the village Kanchana Devi along with other PRI members officially met SDM Baijnath and asked him to send teams of veterinarians and medics to contain the spread of rabies.
"We have asked the authorities to send doctors and veterinarians to treat both human and animals," said Pawana Devi, an activist of Kisan Sabha. It takes about three days to reach the village on foot. The village is situated at a walking distance of 72 kilometers.
In the wake of tough topography, district administration had sought state helicopter for dropping the medics and veterinarians.
Sources have told HT that Deputy Commissioner Kangra RS Gupta had written to General Administration Department of the state government for providing helicopter, but the request was not reciprocated.
"It is sad that government is only serious to promote rural health mission on roadside and the poor people are left to their fate," says Zila Parishad member Akshay Jasrotia.
The team of veterinarians sent from Palampur has returned back. The team members mentioned that they could not make headway and returned back from Kanad village which is almost halfway to Barabhanghal. The team members said that heavy snowfall had made things difficult for them.
"We could only send doctors if administration arranges a helicopter for carrying the doctors," said Chief Medical Officer, Kangra, Dr Anil Mahajan.
Deputy Commissioner Kangra RS Gupta is in Jodhpur to attend a high level meeting on pong dam ousters.
Additional District Magistrate, Sandeep Kumar, when contacted said that administration was making arrangement for the teams to reach out to the remote village." "People we have contacted informed that cattle have died in the village. There is no confirmation of humans being infected but the possibility cannot be ruled out completely," said Sandeep Kumar.
Cattle and sheep rearing is the main occupation in the remote village. Shepherds in the village had migrated to low lying plains few weeks ago and many of them have left the village due to fear. According to unconfirmed reports, more than 160 people were still in the village which has total population of more than 800.