Culling starts in West Bengal’s bird flu-hit Darjeeling

January 4th, 2009 - 5:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Siliguri (West Bengal), Jan 4 (IANS) Authorities in West Bengal Sunday began culling operations in the bird flu-hit Darjeeling and Siliguri subdivisions, officials said.”A three-day culling operation has begun in the affected areas of Siliguri. Twenty-four teams comprising of a total of 200 veterinary workers have culled at least 100 chickens since morning,” Sarod Dwivedi, sub-divisional officer of Siliguri, told reporters.

The district administration had Saturday ordered the culling of about 60,000 poultry at Pubang in Takhdra of Darjeeling subdivision and Matigara in Siliguri subdivision.

Dwivedi said that authorities were not facing any resistance from farmers.

“People are willingly handing over their chickens to our workers. For the time being, each household is getting a compensation of Rs.500. But we will soon be having a high-level meeting to decide the compensation to be paid to poultry farmers and if any animal can be given in exchange of the birds,” Dwivedi said.

In Darjeeling subdivision, nine culling teams started operations Sunday.

Said Milan Halder, deputy director of Animal Husbandry Department of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC): “Culling operations have started. Initially we have only nine teams, but the number will increase as and when required.”

Culling operations will also be carried out in Phulbari of Jalpaiguri district, which comes under the radius zone.

Sale and consumption of poultry and poultry products have been banned in the affected areas.

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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