Full-fledged operations to tackle bird flu have began in West Bengal's Malda district, where the spread of the deadly H5N1 virus was confirmed Monday, but only 155 poultry have been culled due to fog and inadequate manpower, a government official said Wednesday.
"We could cull only 155 poultry Tuesday - the first day of the culling operation - at Narhatta and Satgheria villages under the English Bazar police station in Malda because of fog and bad weather condition. Also, the number of workers for distribution of compensation was inadequate," Dilip Chakraborty, principal secretary of state Animal Resources Development (ARD) department, told IANS Wednesday.
However, Chakraborty said the culling operation are now full-fledged.
"There are adequate number of workers Wednesday and they are operating at full strength since morning. We hope to cull substantial number of poultry by the end of the day," Chakraborty said.
The principal secretary further said a mopping-up operation would start in Malda as soon as culling was over.
"The ARD authorities have decided to cull 16,000 chickens and ducks in all. Culling operations, within a radius of three kilometres in the affected area, should be over by Thursday, or latest by Friday. We will start a two-day mopping-up operation after that," he said.
Seventeen culling teams with a total of 85 workers - wearing white protective suits, gloves and masks - Tuesday started killing and burying chickens and ducks at Narhatta and Satgheria villages in Malda, 350 km from here.
In January, over 200,000 birds were culled when avian flu was detected in several districts. An outbreak of bird flu had been detected in Malda in March and more than 50,000 birds were culled. This is the second outbreak in the district of the dreaded disease caused by the H5N1 virus.