Situation under control: Rehman

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Cooch Behar, Jan 24 : While media reports indicate that bird flu has been located in Kolkata, the State Animal Resources Development Minister Anisur Rehman has claimed that the situation is under control in West Bengal and there are no reports of further spread of bird flu in the State.

Authorities are now testing dead bird samples from areas near Kolkata.

Rehman informed that the culling of the infected birds would be completed within next four days.

The State government has released eight crore fifty lakhs rupees for compensation to poultry losers and urged the centre for more funds in this regard.

Meanwhile Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has 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."

Earlier, Rehman had 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," Rehman said on Wednesday.

The Bihar Government has also ordered culling of chicken in six panchayat areas in Katihar district, adjacent to West Bengal.

"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 bird flu virus from Bangladesh.

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.

About 160,000 poultry birds have been culled in West Bengal so far, while over 100,000 birds have succumbed to the disease.

The H5N1 strain has killed more than 200 people globally since it re-emerged in Asia in 2003 and has since spread across much of Asia, the Middle East, parts of Europe and Africa.

The WHO has called the outbreak the most serious in India.

ANI

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