Assam on high alert as bird flu reaches bordering areas

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Guwahati, Jan 21 (UNI) With reports of bird flu reaching bordering Cooch Behar in neighbouring West Bengal, Assam is on a high alert, following the seizure of two poultry-carrying trucks from West Bengal.

State Veterinary Minister Khorsing Ingti reviewed the situation with department officials at Dispur today, with the other NE states keeping close contact with Assam government as the state serves as the entry point of poultry products from the mainland.

Though Assam had banned import of chicken from West Bengal, a section of traders reportedly continued to procure it.

Two Guwahati-bound trucks from West Bengal carrying chickens were held at Chaygaon and Gauripur yesterday, leading to speculations that more such unmonitored poultry-carrying trucks were sneaking into the state.

State Veterinary department sources said the Chaygaon consignment was meant for the Army, though Army sources denied it, adding that they had stopped import of poultry from West Bengal more than four days back.

The Gauripur consignment was meant for local traders, veterinary sources added.

A number of districts in West Bengal have reported the outbreak of bird flu and lakhs of chickens were being culled in the neighbouring state, with Assam also rushing in culling teams to assist the hard-pressed veterinary department there.

State Animal Husbandry and Veterinary director A K Kakoty said the district administrations have been directed to step up vigil.

He stated that other NE states was also coordinating with Assam regarding the preventive measures being adopted as the state is the main entry point from West Bengal.

Assam government has claimed that it has taken all possible efforts to prevent the outbreak of the disease and has asked concerned authorities to stock adequate preventive medicines.

The veterinary department had collected blood and stool samples and sent to Kolkata and Bhopal laboratories.

Though there was no immediate report of outbreak of the dreaded disease in the chickens, the demand for its meat has come down drastically in the state.

UNI PB-SG KK SP BD1757

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