HC directs govt on checking avian flu
A DIVISION bench of the Jabalpur High Court comprising Chief Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Ajit Singh has directed the state government to implement the four-member committee report, which has recommended that poultry and poultry products originating from Maharashtra and Gujarat should not be allowed to enter Madhya Pradesh for the next two months.
The four-member committee comprising Dr Rajesh Rajora, Dr A G Khan, Dr J L Vegad and Dr P K Kasar had submitted the report on March 15 to check the avian flu infection in the state. Preventing the entry of poultry and poultry products from two states into MP for next two months is one of the important recommendations of the committee.
In its order dated March 20, the court has also asked the government to submit the report of all the chicken samples sent from across the state to Bhopal laboratory when the next hearing takes place on April 3. Of the 2,175 samples sent to Bhopal, the laboratory has come out with results of just 960 samples.
The other recommendations of the committee include formation of Rapid Response Teams to deal with the virus, a stricter vigilance on pigs, ducks and swans that are main carriers of H5N1 virus, restricting movement of stray pigs and swans by urban and local bodies, scientific disposal of poultry wastes (broken eggs, dead chicken) originating from poultry farms and retail shops, survey of backyard poultries and collection of random samples for bird flu and to launch public awareness drive through print and electronic media.
The division bench issued these directives in response to public interest litigation filed by Jabalpur dental surgeon Dr Y C Chou through his counsel Aditya Sanghi.
The PIL stated that Madhya Pradesh stands a bigger chance of receiving bird flu infection as Nandurbar in Maharashtra, which is the epicentre of avian flu, is situated merely 19 km from MP border along with Jalgaon that is also closely located to state.
The litigation drew attention to the fact that poultry farms are spread throughout the state of which a large number of them are located in back yards of residential areas. This practice, PIL stressed, has exposed the human population to a
The petitioner submitted that while whole of the state is exposed the H5N1 risk, Indore being the most densely populated city and certain areas of Betul district which are close to Maharashtra border are at a greater risk. Charging the respondents with adopting lenient approach towards the fatal infection, the PIL has asked the court to direct them to take strict precautionary measures as other states including Delhi have taken.
The PIL was filed last month and after hearing the petitioner’s pleas, the division bench had ordered constitution of the committee on March 1, 2006, which was endow ed with task to find out preventive measures for bird flu. Consequently, the four-member committee submitted its report on March 15.
The respondents in the case include Union of India through Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, State of MP through Public Health and Family Welfare and others.
Move to shunt out pigsties
GALVANISED INTO action by public fear, the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) administration has dusted up an old proposal to shunt pig-breeders to the City outskirts.
Originally mooted during Kailash Vijayvargiya’s mayoral tenure, the proposal has now been expanded to include a kennel for housing stray dogs.
Both the canine and porcine populations will be fed leftovers from City hotels and eateries which is currently unloaded at garbage dumps.
According to sources, the corporation has chalked out a proposal to shift the 60-odd pigsties’ owners to either Gwal Toli or Jinsi Ground. A meeting of pig-breeders has been convened on Friday in this regard, they added.
The proposal also calls for ridding the City of the stray dog menace by shifting canines to a kennel to come up near the plot of land allocated for pigsties. Once at the kennel, the dogs would be sterilised
by the corporation’s veterinarians so as to prevent their number from multiplying. The IMC has appealed to all dog-owners to affix a collar to their pets to prevent the animals from being rounded up by the anti-stray dog squad by mistake.
Several pig deaths had been reported from Indore within the last fortnight sparking rumours that the avian influenza (bird flu) virus had penetrated the porcine population.
The district administration even clamped Section 144 to prevent pigs from roaming freely. Although no confirmed case of pig flu has surfaced so far, the fear has provided the corporation the necessary impetus to have another go at relocating backyard pigsties.
Mayor-in-Council member in charge of health department, Rajendra Rathore said, “We have arranged a meeting with pig-breeders for the relocation proposal. Earlier, pigsties’ owners were apprehensive about moving away from the City.
They felt it would entail high feeding costs, as the animals would no longer be able to forage at garbage dumps. Now that the corporation is arranging to provide leftover food from hotels for the animals we are confident that the relocation proposal will succeed”.