States bordering Bangladesh vulnerable to bird flu

May 19th, 2008 - 4:27 pm ICT by admin  

Agartala, May 19 (IANS) Indian states bordering Bangladesh have become vulnerable to bird flu with the country continuing to be a breeding ground for the disease, officials here said Monday. “Forty-seven of the 64 districts in Bangladesh are hit by bird flu. With the authorities failing to control the disease and no efforts at checking smuggling of poultry and poultry products, bordering Indian states are becoming vulnerable to avian influenza,” said Ashish Roy Burman, director of Tripura’s Animal Resource Development (ARD) department.

“In Bangladesh, they slaughter just a few birds within a one km radius unlike the prescribed World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines of culling in a five km radius.”

The Tripura government has requested the union government to take up the matter with the Bangladesh government.

“The Post Operative Surveillance Programme (POSP) is now on in the bird flu affected Kamalpur areas of Dhalai district and Mohanpur and Bishalgarh areas of west Tripura district,” Burman told journalists.

“We have asked the Border Security Force (BSF) to maintain strict vigil along the Indo-Bangladesh border with Tripura to prevent illegal trade of poultry and poultry products from Bangladesh.”

According to the official, over 200,000 birds have been culled, 90,000 poultry products and 5,500 kg poultry feed been destroyed following the recent outbreak of bird flu in the three bordering areas of Dhalai and west Tripura districts.

The authorities have also paid compensation of Rs.7.1 million to 19,000 directly affected families while the total loss due to the bird flu disease is estimated to be about Rs.20 million.

Meanwhile, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an international organisation dedicated to protecting the rights of all animals, blamed the Tripura government for failing to maintain basic standards of poultry farms.

“The government cannot wash their hands off by blaming the Bangladesh government for the outbreak of bird flu when conditions in their own poultry farms are not good,” said Nikunj Sharma, PETA’s Mumbai-based coordinator.

“Had the government been proactive in taking appropriate measures, the pandemic could have been averted,” Sharma said in a letter to the Tripura government.

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