KARACHI: Veterinary doctors – who were appointed as Basic Pay Scale-17 officers to the livestock department through the Sindh Public Service Commission – have been waiting for promotions for the last 15 years, said Pakistan Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) Karachi chapter president Dr Abdul Rasheed Bhutto on Wednesday.
Around 90 doctors in animal husbandry and 16 doctors in the poultry department have yet to be promoted, said Bhutto, who added that the Sindh government has failed to chalk out any service structure for their promotions – which the other three provinces have devised already.
The government is paying no heed to the issue, nor is it recruiting new doctors to meet the shortage of veterinary doctors in Sindh, Bhutto alleged. Almost 2,000 veterinary doctors in Sindh are unemployed despite 150 vacancies in the livestock department, he added.
Bhutto accused the bureaucracy of employing “delaying tactics” on the pretext of “budget constraints” despite the government’s announcement of hiring 60 veterinary doctors.
The livestock department is not following the four-tier system that was approved for promotions in the health and education departments, said PVMA president Dr Bakhshal Thalho. Many veterinary hospitals in Sindh have also been grabbed by encroachers due to the negligence of senior officers, he added.
Despite the fact that the livestock sector plays an important role in an agro-based society, veterinary doctors across the province have been neglected by the government for the past 15 years, said Thalho.
The value of livestock is 6.1 per cent more than the combined value of major and minor crops, he said, adding that the government’s negligence has resulted in a growing gap between the demand and supply of major sources of protein, such as milk, beef and mutton.
The government has ignored the milk production sector despite the fact that Pakistan is the fourth largest milk producing country in the world, said Dr Qadir Khuhro, who was appointed as a veterinary doctor in Sindh 11 years after he completed his master’s degree. He added that people do not get jobs in the livestock sector despite obtaining degrees as doctors of veterinary medicine.
The main reason behind the livestock department’s poor performance is a lack of professionals, said Thalho, adding that according to the animal census report of 2006, there were 38,569,630 animals in Sindh, while only 310 veterinary doctors were hired to take care of them.
“In other words, there is one doctor for 125,000 animals,” Thalho added.
According to international standards, Sindh needs at least 1,400 more veterinary doctors, said Thalho, who added that Pakistan has fallen below African and Asian countries such as Myanmar and Mongolia in this sector.
While livestock and fisheries department secretary Dr Laique Ahmed Memon said that more veterinary doctors were recruited into the department in 2009 compared to the total recruitments in the past 15 years, he added that he was unable to confirm if 150 posts were, in fact, vacant.
The departmental procedure of promotions is being followed, said Memon, who added that he will try to resolve any problems that come up.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2010.