As bird flu continued to ravage poultry in West Bengal, the Centre on Tuesday indicated that a delay in action on part of the state government contributed to the rapid spread of the disease and said the pace of culling operations should be quickened.
"Initially there was a delay of nearly a week's time for notices to be sent to us but now things have been put on track," Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
Asked whether the delay could have contributed to the disease spreading so fast, he said, "it could have been handled better".
"When it happened in Maharashtra and Manipur, within a week we could take care of these things and it was mopped up and the screening was done and culling was done," the Minister said adding the pace of all operations like culling needs to be quickened.
Ramadoss said the Union Health Ministry was coordinating with the state government and he was confident that the disease would be tackled fast.
Asked about some attacks on culling teams, he said initially there were some issues. "There was a problem of compensation for ducks. The compensation was to be increased and that is now being taken care of."
Also there was no awareness initially, he added.
On steps being taken by the Health Ministry, he said Rapid Response Teams have been sent, preventive Tamiflu tablets have been handed out to the most vulnerable sections and other steps are being taken.