Bihar has ordered a fresh cull of chickens in Purnia, Kishanganj and Katihar districts bordering West Bengal following a directive from the central government to check the spread of avian influenza, officials said Monday.
"The government has ordered the culling of chickens in poultries within five km of the West Bengal border in Katihar, Kishanganj and Purnia districts," Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who is also the animal husbandry minister, told IANS.
Modi said that although no case of bird flu has been reported from any part of Bihar, the culling of chickens has been ordered as a preventive measure to check the spread of bird flu.
The culling of chickens was last month ordered in seven villages of Azamnagar block in Katihar district after the bird flu outbreak in West Bengal.
Bihar has also banned the import of poultry from the neighbouring state.
The government had formed rapid response teams in the three districts bordering West Bengal and 650 protective gears have been given to the teams culling the birds.
"About 10,000 doses of Tamiflu medicine has been sent to the three districts," a source in the animal husbandry department said.
Modi said the government has also decided to take the help of panchayats in the three districts for the cull. In these districts, breeding of chickens was largely unorganised and mostly in backyards. Two officials of the animal husbandry department have been deputed to monitor the cull in these districts.
"The government will pay compensation to poultry owners after culling of chickens," Modi said.
The compensation amount has been fixed at Rs.40 per chicken for country chicken and Rs.30 for broiler and Rs.10 for chicks.
The border areas of Purnia, Kishanganj and Katihar have been hit by a panic wave ever since West Bengal declared the avian flu outbreak Jan 15 and sales of chicken and eggs have plummeted there.