Over 10,000 birds culled in West Bengal’s Malda (Lead)

December 18th, 2008 - 7:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 18 (IANS) Over 10,000 birds were culled in West Bengal’s bird flu hit Malda district where the process is expected to be over by Friday, a minister said Thursday.”Thirty teams of a total of 150 veterinary workers are operating in full swing Thursday at Narhatta and Satgheria villages under English Bazar police station in Malda.

“Over 10,000 poultry birds have been culled till afternoon. If work progresses so rapidly, we will hit the target of culling 25,000 chickens and ducks by Friday night,” Anisur Rehman, minister of state Animal Resources Development (ARD) department, told IANS.

The culling operations Thursday will continue till midnight and start again Friday morning.

“The government has sanctioned Rs.8 million for culling operations and payment of compensation to villagers in the affected areas. Out of this amount, Rs.300,000 has been paid as compensation so far,” he said.

Meanwhile, officials from the ARD department have spoken to the villagers, who were resisting the operations to demand higher compensation, and persuaded to co-operate with the workers engaged in culling operations.

“There were some problems with the villagers over compensation Thursday morning. But our officials have been able to persuade them to co-operate with us. Now culling is being carried out without any obstructions,” said Rehman.

Villagers are being paid Rs.20-50 as compensation for each fowl and duck depending on its age.

According to district officials, villagers were hiding their poultry to avoid culling. Some workers engaged in culling operations even alleged that they were manhandled by some villagers Thursday while collecting poultry.

“I have heard of the allegations and have asked the district magistrate and police superintendent to make necessary security arrangements for the workers,” Rehman said.

Rehman had confirmed Monday that two blood samples of dead poultry sent to the High Security Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Bhopal had tested positive for avian flu.

In January, over 200,000 poultry birds were culled when avian flu was detected in several districts. An outbreak of the bird flu had been detected at Malda in March and more than 50,000 birds were culled. This is the second time the disease hit the district.

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