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Holi delays culling operations in M'rashtra

Culling operations could not start for want of labour due to the festival of Holi on wednesday in bird flu hit villages in Jalgaon.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2006 15:31 IST

Culling operations in the bird flu hit villages of Jalgaon district will begin on Thursday even as Animal Husbandry Minister Anees Ahmed and Chief Secretary Dr D K Shankaran held discussions with local administration on measures to prevent spread of the disease.

Culling operations could not start for want of labour due to the festival of Holi on Wednesday.

District Collector Vijay Singhal said that 100 birds had died at Erandol this morning. "Samples are being sent to the animal disease laboratory in Bhopal to find out if these birds had succumbed to the H5N1 virus," he added.

The Collector said all four affected villages - Salva, Savdha, Marul and Hated villages in the neighbourhood of the first flu-hit Navapur town, have been sealed, pending culling operations, which would start on Thursday. However, digging of trenches to bury the culled birds has started and JCB machines have been employed for the same.

Mr Ahmed and Dr Shankaran, who arrived in Jalgaon in the afternoon chaired a meeting of district officials comprising revenue, health, animal husbandry and police and gave necessary directions.

Later addressing a press conference, Mr Ahmed said 60 rapid response teams have been created to prevent the spread of the disease. About thirteen JCB machines and 45 jeeps have already been dispatched to the affected areas.
Announcing the compensation package for bird owners, Mr Ahmed said Rs 40 would be given per hen, Rs 30 per broiler and Rs 10 per chick.

He said the disease was in control in the State and urged the people not to panic.

Culling of about 75,000 birds from 174 villages in the 10 km radius of the four villages of Marul, Savda, Chalva and Hated situated in Yaval, Raver, Dharangaon and Chopda talukas respectively will be completed in three days, the Minister said.

He said birds would have to be brought from local homes, as there was no poultry industry like in Navapur.

Health teams will be sent to the 174 villages and an isolated ward will be created in the rural hospitals of each affected taluka to tackle any emergency.

"In Navapur, the majority of the birds infected were in a formally built poultry farms. Here most of the birds are from backyard poultry. They have to be sought from the villages and then culled," Ahmed said.

For this, Singhal will begin holding gram sabhas from Wednesday to persuade villagers to handover their birds to the animal husbandry authorities for culling.

The outbreak of bird flu was confirmed late Tuesday after the Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) found four positive samples out of the 27 specimens sent from here.

First Published: Mar 16, 2006 15:31 IST