Barakartikchunri (West Bengal), Jan 22 : Residents of a village in West Bengal have refused to hand over their poultry for culling, unless provided with electricity.
Villagers of Barakartikchunri village in bird flu affected Birbhum district, the epicentre of the fourth bird flu outbreak among poultry in India since 2006, gathered in a protest holding placards and shouting slogans.
The villagers lamented the deplorable conditions they live in.
Devoid of electricity, the village with a population of 1500, concurred it fit to demand electricity supply in exchange for their chicken.
Subodh Tili, a villager said: "Unless and until, we get an assurance from the electricity department that we will be provided power, till that time we will not handover any chickens."
Shahjamal Ali, the village head, said: "If the people cannot survive then what is the point."
The deadly bird flu virus spread to a new district in West Bengal as authorities said on Monday villagers' resistance to culling operations and poor health awareness was slowing efforts to stamp out the disease.
The H5N1 virus was found among dead birds in Bankura district of West Bengal. Now, seven of the 19 districts have been infected with the disease.
Around 20 million people live in these infected areas.
Only 125,000 birds were culled since last week and officials said they would need more time to slaughter over 500,000 birds.
Many farmers were still dumping dead birds in lakes and ponds, ignoring repeated warnings by health workers.
In some places, veterinarians were beaten up by villagers and thrown out of poultry farms.
Clearly worried at the development, the rapid response team was increased to 400, with health workers from Assam joining the culling operation.