Panic bells ring following death of birds in Bengal

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New Delhi, Jan 18 (UNI) Crows dying in Kolkota touched off panic bells of Bird flu outbreak in the Marxist-ruled state, while Assam stopped the import of all poultry products from West Bengal.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today described as 'alarming' the Bird Flu outbreak in the state even as reports spoke of the death of a number of crows in Kolkata.

''It is alarming. It has been decided that poultry in the five to ten km radius of the affected areas would be culled. The process would be completed in seven days,'' MR Bhattacharjee told reporters.

The culling operation continued for the third day today in Birbhum, South Dinajpur and Murshidabad districts even as fresh report of bird deaths poured in from a few other districts.

''We will have to kill four lakh birds in the affected districts,'' the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, people panicked in South Kolkata's Kalighat area and in Sealdah in the central part after dead crows lay strewn on roads.

The Government had already put a ban on the sale of chickens, ducks and eggs in the affected areas besides sealing the Bangaldesh border to prevent movement of birds.

Assam stopped import of all poultry products from West Bengal and sounded a red alert in districts adjoining Bengal.

It is estimated that 14,000 kg of poultry products from West Bengal reach various Northeastern markets every day.

Even as there was no report of the disease in the state so far, Uttar Pradesh government has also issued an high alert to prevent the epidemic and appealed to the people not to pay attention to rumours.

UP Forest department has put all the 13 bird sanctuaries of the state on the watch list, following the outbreak of the Bird Flu in the country.

The government has established a disease control cell, while on the direction of the centre serum samples of the poultry stock is being sent for regular test.

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