Bird flu case surfaces in Shamsherganj

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Murshidabad (West Bengal), Jan 28 : A new case of bird flu has been registered in the Shamsherganj block of West Bengal's Murshidabad district, where a culling operation is already in progress.

The total number of bird-flu hit districts in the state has gone up to 13 out of 19, despite the culling of birds being taken up on a war footing.

The teams are undertaking culling operations in West Midnapore, South 24 Parganas, Birbhum, Murshidabad, Malda, CoochBehar, Purulia and Howrah Districts.

Fifteen teams have started their culling operations in West Midnapore District. The teams are conducting the culling operations in a five kilometre radius of Chakbelcha village which falls under the Debra block of the Kharagpur sub-division, District Magistrate N S Nigam said.

"Five districts- South Dinajpur, Nadia, Burdwan and Bankura and Hooghly have completed their culling operations. In the remaining districts culling will be completed soon," he added.

West Bengal Animal Resources Development Minister Anisur Rehman said that over 15.75 lakh poultry have been culled so far out of the target of 22 lakh birds.

"Of the targeted 22 lakh, we have been able to cull nearly 15.75 lakh birds and 1.25 lakh have died. The rest of the lot will be completed by Monday," Rehman said.

The 5000 crore organised poultry industry in West Bengal has been badly hit following the outbreak of bird flu.

Since January 15, when the epidemic was officially declared, chicken sales and exports have dipped to an all time low.

Poultry owners are being paid 40 rupees for each bird that is culled. Poultry farm owners hope banks and financial institutions will back them again this time. In 2006, after bird flu was detected in Maharashtra, the Centre had given a 4 per cent subsidy on interest on loans given to the organised sector and backed it up with subsidy on poultry feed.

ANI

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