Uttar Pradesh's animal husbandry department employees have been put on a virtual red alert to check the entry of chickens from the bird flu-affected districts of West Bengal. Also, 1,500 infected chickens have been culled in Shahjahanpur, which received part of a consignment of 5,000 birds from Bengal. The consignment was first received in Varanasi for further dispatch to Buxar in Bihar, besides Shahjahanpur.
Sources in Shahjahanpur confirmed that Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Naval Kishor raided a poultry farm, seized 1,500 infected birds and buried them on the banks of the Khannaut river with the help of the police.
The poultry farmer had received the consignment from bird flu-hit Burdwan district in Bengal.
In Varanasi, Animal Husbandry Department deputy director Dr Sardar Singh told HT over the phone that 5,000 chickens from West Bengal were sent to the city by train in the name of a trader, Deepu Sonker. The consignment reached Varanasi on the morning of January 26.
“We came to know about it late that afternoon and rushed to the railway station to found out the details. We immediately brought the matter to the notice of district magistrate Beena Kumari, who imposed a ban on the import of chickens and other poultry products from West Bengal. She also ordered the arrest of the local trader,” Singh said.
An FIR has been registered against Sonker, who had received the consignment at the station.
The department has deployed the employees, along with policemen, at railway stations and bus terminuses, highways and border districts to check the transport of chickens from Bengal, he said.
The Varansi district administration has already checked poultry shops.
Chetganj police station officer Chand Hussain said, “We are conducting raids to arrest the poultry trader who sent the consignment of chickens to other districts of Western UP and Bihar from Varanasi."
Varansi Chief Medical Officer Dr Abdul Halim said preparations had been made to combat bird flu, but no case had been reported yet in Varanasi.
Dr S Majumdar, head of the poultry division at the Central Avian Research Institute, Izzatnagar (Bareilly) said there should be an immediate ban on the import of all poultry products from infected areas. Local authorities should constitute teams to detect and follow up with action on the basis of diagnosis.