Foot & mouth disease centre to take 3 more years
By Express News Service - BHUBANESWAR
16th September 2012 01:16 PM
It would take another three years before the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) comes up with its high-security laboratory in Odisha, the first of its kind in India to fight foot and mouth disease.
Although the project - The International Centre of Food & Mouth Disease - was announced by ICAR in 2007-08, work on it started only last year because of initial hiccups in finalisation of the land.
The laboratory is being set up by ICAR in an area of 116.325 acres at Argul, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, and construction work has been entrusted to the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) on a turn-key basis.
The state-of-the-art laboratory will be the first centre in India and one of its kind in South East Asia with Bio Safety Level (3+) facilities, which will work for proper control and containment of virulent, pathogenic and mutagenic foot and mouth disease viruses.
This is a contagious disease affecting all cattle, sheep and goats.
Bio-safety Level (3+) facility expands the capability of researchers to conduct research on potential viral agents that do not currently have vaccines or therapies.
The centre, which will also serve as a referral laboratory for the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), will be more technologically advanced than the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
B Patnaik, Project Director (Foot and Mouth Disease) of ICAR, who is also in charge of this lab, said although the initial estimate for the lab was around ` 45 to 50 crore, the amount has today escalated to ` 150 crore and it might further go up. Funding for the purpose is being made through XIth Plan.
“We are now working upon the engineering details of the lab along with the NDDB as the former is the only competent organisation in the country to implement such a project. A consultant from Switzerland has been roped in to look into structural details,” Patnaik said.
The scientist added that as the lab will be built with Bio Safety Level (3+) facilities, it will be air and water tight. “Since there are so many details that need to be looked into before construction of the lab, it will take three more years for completion,” said KML Pathak, Deputy Director-General (Animal Sciences), ICAR.
Foot and mouth disease greatly affects agriculture and animal husbandry as it is prevalent in all parts of the country and breaks out round the year.
It also hits free-living and captive ungulates and elephants. The disease affects over 400 million domestic livestock population every year.
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