Dr K Rashbehari Singh
Manipur, situated in the north eastern region of India is a beautiful state, having abundant flora and fauna. Among the biodiversity hotspots of India, Manipur falls under the Indo-Burma region and is endowed with rich biodiversity.
Modern India has developed in many aspects of science and technology and veterinary science is not an exception. All the states of India have veterinary college / colleges, except Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya and Sikkim. Many of the developed states of India had already established Veterinary / Animal Sciences Universities.
On the other hand, Manipur is very backward in terms of establishment of veterinary institution / college / university and we are in league along with Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Meghalaya and Sikkim. The College of Agriculture, Central Agricultural University, Iroisemba, Imphal has a Department of Animal Sciences concerning with livestock / poultry production and management. There is a Training Centre for undergoing 1(one) year Veterinary Field Assistant (VFA) course at Khumbong, Imphal.
In Manipur, there are Colleges (Government / private ) of almost all the professions, but there is no Veterinary College. We may ask why this is so. Where is the gap? Is it not our ( the people of Manipur) duty to fill up this gap and establish one state of the art Veterinary College in Manipur.
Appreciating the importance of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying in the economy and health of the masses, separate Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying was established / started in India during 2019 by present Central Government. This may be an advantage for us regarding establishment of Veterinary College in Manipur.
Manipur has Manipur State Veterinary Council at Sanjenthong with the Director of Veterinary & Animal Services, Govt. of Manipur as President. The main objective of the Veterinary Council is to regulate veterinary practice and education.
If Veterinary college is established in Manipur, the following advantages will crop up :
1. Employment opportunities: Qualified and specialized veterinarians from Manipur can best be employed directly and indirectly.
2. Research of the locally available animal and plant species / varieties: Manipur is rich in biodiversity. There are abundant unexplored plant and animal species / varieties in Manipur. If the Veterinary College is established in Manipur, scientific research can be done on the locally available varieties of animals and plants / fodder plants, for economic advantages and also for the health of human and animals.
3. Development of locally adaptable varieties of livestock and poultry: Breeding research can be done for development of livestock and poultry varieties which are adapted to the agro climatic conditions of Manipur / North Eastern Region.
4. Non conventional feed : Feed is costly and it cost about 50 to 70 per cent of livestock and poultry farming. As Manipur is rich in bio diversity, research can be done for inclusion of locally available non conventional feed stuff (plant and animal materials), for economic advantage.
5. Together for One Health: One Health is the idea that health of the people is connected to the health of animals and our shared environment. Disease experts, laboratorians, human healthcare providers, veterinarians, physicians, nurses, scientists, ecologists, and policy makers are involved in One Health work. Working together allows us to have the biggest impact on improving health for both people and animals. All of this work can help to predict, prevent, and control zoonotic disease outbreaks that threaten human and animal health, and can address other threats that affect humans, animals, and our shared environment.
The present global outbreak of COVID-19 which is originated from Wuhan, Hubei Province of China is a glaring example for the need of One Health approach while managing animal and human diseases and our shared environment. Establishment of one veterinary college in Manipur will help to strengthen the share of veterinarians in One Health approach.
6. Animal based Integrated Farming System : One of the main ways for doubling the income of the farmers by 2022, as planned by the Central Government, is Integrated Farming System (IFS). The IFS refers to agricultural systems that integrate livestock and crop production or integrate fish and livestock. In this system, an inter-related set of enterprises is used so that the waste from one component becomes an input for another part of the system and ensure an overall increase in productivity for the whole farming system. Research can be done to work out efficient and sustainable IFS using modern technologies.
If our (Her Excellency) Governor, policy makers, (Hon’ble) Ministers, MPs, dedicated NGOs, veterinarians and the public are united with one stand for establishment of Veterinary College in Manipur, it will not be far to establish one veterinary college in Manipur. Now, if we put our efforts with a vision, our future generation will reap the fruits.Retd. Deputy Director (Extension Education),
About the author: Central Agricultural University, Lamphelpat, Imphal. &
Member, Manipur State Veterinary Council, Sanjenthong.