New Delhi/Kolkata, Jan 23 : Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said that the deadly H5N1 virus that has infected nine districts of West Bengal has entered from Bangladesh.
Pawar said that the Centre has warned the bordering states to keep a check on poultry smuggling, adding, "But I think they mustn't have paid attention."
West Bengal Animal Resources Development Minister Anisur Rahaman confirmed that Cooch Behar and Hooghly districts were also affected by bird flu.
"Samples of chicken sent from Cooch Behar and Hooghly districts to the Highrisk Security Disease Laboratory (HSDL) in Bhopal yesterday tested positive," Rahaman said on Wednesday.
"We have been informed by the Centre. Steps will be taken accordingly," he said.
Meanwhile, in Bihar and Jharkhand are reportedly getting into the grip of H5N1 virus where poultry farmers reported fresh cases of poultry deaths.
State authorities have started collecting blood samples from Idgaon village of Jharkhand that reported the deaths of the birds.
The Bihar Government has ordered culling of chicken in six panchayat areas in Katihar district.
"We have received reports about a suspected case of bird flu at Mohammedpur in Malda district, hardly 5 km from Katihar. We are in constant touch with the West Bengal government about it," Deputy Chief Minister and Animal And Fishery Resources Minister, Sushil Modi told reporters.
Border officials in Tripura are taking steps to check the entry of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu virus from Bangladesh, even as authorities in West Bengal continue to struggle to contain the disease.
Through Tripura does not import poultry products from Bangladesh, everyday hundreds of vehicles enter the state from that country.
Health officials have been fumigating vehicles at the India-Bangladesh border, even as border guards seek a vigil to prevent the smuggling of the poultry into the country.
"Officially, we do not import poultry and its produce from Bangladesh. In addition to that there may be chances that poultry and its produce is smuggled into India from Bangladesh. We have sanitized our battalions to see that the smuggling of the poultry is denied," said J. A. Khan, Inspector General, Border Security Force (BSF).
Alarmed over the outbreak of bird flu in West Bengal, a high alert has been sounded in neighbouring Meghalaya to prevent the spread of the disease in that state.
According to state officials, all veterinary officials, especially those posted along the India-Bangladesh border have been directed to take preventive measures.
An extensive awareness campaign has also been introduced.
The State Government has already banned the entry of chickens in the state from outside. Additional gates have been set along the border to keep an eye.
About 160,000 poultry birds have been culled so far, while over 100,000 birds have succumbed to the disease.