Culling continues in bird flu-hit Darjeeling district

January 5th, 2009 - 8:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Siliguri (West Bengal), Jan 5 (IANS) Nearly 50 percent of the poultry in the bird-flu hit areas of West Bengal’s Darjeeling district had been culled till Monday evening, a senior official said.”We’ve already culled 50 percent (about 9,000) of the total targeted poultry in the affected parts of the district. I hope if everything goes well, we will be able to start our mopping up operation in the next two days,” Siliguri Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) Sharat Dwivedi said.

Following a bird flu outbreak, the district administration in Darjeeling ordered culling of 18,000 poultry at Pubang in Takhdra of Darjeeling subdivision and Matigara in Siliguri subdivision.

Earlier, the authorities had ordered the culling of nearly 60,000 poultry but later this figure was brought down to 18,000 after gauging the extent of the avian infection.

Dwivedi said the state Animal Resource Development (ARD) department officials had already begun mopping up operation in Darjeeling hills from Monday.

He said the authorities had not faced any resistance so far from the locals in the Siliguri municipal area and Darjeeling hills.

In Darjeeling subdivision, nine culling teams started operations Sunday.

Though the sale and consumption of poultry products has been banned, it was found that chicken was being sold openly in the affected areas of Darjeeling district.

“We carried out several raids at Matigara, Bagdogra and Siliguri municipal area and stopped poultry business there. We’ll continue to conduct these raids during the next few days,” Dwivedi said.

He said there had been no fresh report of death of any poultry bird in the district.

Alarmed at the death of 80 poultry birds at Pubang in Takhdra of Darjeeling subdivision and 67 poultry birds at Matigara in Siliguri subdivision within a week, the district administration sent the samples to the High Security Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Bhopal. One of the samples tested positive for avian flu.

The development came 18 days after bird flu struck Malda district in the state.

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