West Bengal intercepts trucks smuggling birds from flu area

January 23rd, 2008 - 3:50 pm ICT by admin  

Birbhum (West Bengal), Jan 23 (ANI): Residents in West Bengal intercepted six vehicles smuggling birds from a bird flu infected area.
The six vehicles, which were interpreted by villagers at Nalhati, a bordering village along the Bengal-Jharkhand border, contained stock collected from different places in Birbhum where avian influenza has spread.
Most of the stock was from Rampurhat’s two blocks, rest from other blocks and Bakreswar.
The police moved the recovered stock to a riverbank and buried the culled chicken.
Villagers residing in Rampuhat reeling under bird flu have decided to sell off their stock in Jharkhand.
“I was taking the chicken in the tempo when the villagers stopped my vehicle. They called the police and handed us over. We were taking the chicken to Jharkhand,” said Imtiaz Ali, the driver who was smuggling out his stock of chickens.
The government compensation for the culled birds is Rs 40 for a country chicken, Rs 30 for poultry and Rs 10 for every chick, which the villagers claim as ‘inadequate’.
According to the residents, smugglers offer to buy their stock at higher rates to the government compensation.
Meanwhile, border officials in Tripura have mounted steps to check the entry of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu virus from Bangladesh, where nearly 25,000 fowls have been culled after the disease outbreak.
Though Tripura doesn’t import poultry product from Bangladesh but everyday hundreds of vehicles enter the state from the neighbouring country.
Health officials fumigated vehicles at the border as border guards maintained vigil to prevent the smuggling of the poultry into the country.
Seven districts of West Bengal have been affected to the bird flu but officials said the infection could be more widespread as they waited for test.
The virus was also spreading to new areas within already infected districts and the state was finding it difficult to contain the disease. (ANI)

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