Delhi development minister Gopal Rai on Thursday said there is no reason to panic as the virus doesn’t seem to have entered the food chain yet.
The government has asked the city’s chicken wholesalers and poultry farms to inform if they found dead birds and also keep their area clean.
“We are closely monitoring bird sanctuaries, poultry farms and chicken wholesale markets. There is no threat as of now. We request poultry farmers and traders to maintain cleanliness,” Rai said.
The minister will go for an inspection to Ghazipur Murga Mandi on Friday. Of the 50 samples sent to the laboratory in Jalandhar, nine are from the mandi. A clear picture is expected once the results come on Saturday.
The Ghazipur mandi is the only meat market which caters to the entire city and perhaps the only place from where the virus can enter the food chain. Each day the market gets at least 200 trucks of chicken which officials from the animal husbandry department said account to about 2.5 lakh chickens entering the market on a daily basis. The livestock comes from neighbouring states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
While the government has increased its monitoring at the borders to ensure that no dead or sick chicken enters the mandi, wholesalers are wary of the effectiveness of the same. “There have been instances where the number of chickens coming in has rather increased during a bird flu scare instead of decreasing. This is because poultry farmers try every possible way to get rid of their produce,” said Mohammad Illyas, a supplier at the mandi.
Officials said it is ensuring that wholesalers do not touch chicken with naked hands. “Even those which appear to be lazy should be avoided,” he added.