Panic in Ludhiana over bird flu

January 18th, 2008 - 8:11 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata /Ludhiana, Jan 18 (ANI): The bird flu outbreak in West Bengal has hit poultry traders in the northern parts of the country, and eggs and broiler chicken are being sold at throwaway prices.
The fear of the humans getting infected by the avian influenza has pushed down the sales of poultry products in Punjab.
The poultry owners are forced to sell eggs at extremely low prices. However, this has increased the demand for chicken.
“The prices of broiler have fallen to Rs 20 per kilogram for the last three to four days and due to the rumours spread by traders. However, Punjab is a very safe area in context of bird flu. But due to rumours the poultry farming is getting affected,” said Gurudev Singh, a poultry farm owner.
Putting to rest the rumours, officials said Punjab doesn’t need to be scared of the disease because of the organised poultry operations in the State.
The birds are given proper vaccination at regular intervals and in case of doubt, samples are sent to laboratories to check any outbreak of the virus, officials said.
Meanwhile, panic has gripped poultry owners in West Bengal as they incur huge losses due to culling of thousands of poultry to contain the spread of bird flu.
Poultry owners in Margram village say their businesses have been severely hit due to the disease.
“All our poultry farms are closed. We are not getting any orders from the markets. We used to earn a lot of money by doing this business, but now that earning has stopped. Poultry farms are not running anymore. My whole earning was completely dependant on the poultry farms,” said Suchitra Ghosh, a poultry owner.
Ghosh added that though the government has announced compensation package for the affected poultry owners, it is not enough to cover their losses.
The village poultry owners estimate their losses to be about Rs. four million.
Many poor villagers foresee an uncertain future if the disease spreads.
“We are feeling scared. If the disease spreads to our area, we would be hit hard,” said Soumitra Mondal, another poultry owner.
Meanwhile, the Border Security Force has alerted its units in all border districts like South and North 24 Parganas, Maldah and Murshidabad, to keep a strict vigil on the people crossing from Bangladesh and all their goods and bags are being checked meticulously.
West Bengal has sealed a stretch of its border with Bangladesh. Bangladesh has been fighting to contain the spread of bird flu since March last year.
This is the fourth outbreak of the H5N1 strain in Indian poultry since 2006. (ANI)

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