Rampurhat (West Bengal), Jan 29: Veterinary staff in West Bengal are facing opposition from Rampurhat villagers who complain of meager compensation for birds being offered for culling.
"We are not adequately compensated for parting with our poultry. The officials give part of the compensation money to us and pocket the rest. We are not giving away our birds," said Sukumar Bagdi, a villager. Officials admitted they have fallen short of meeting the target. "Our target was 125,000 birds, but till now we could only cull 108,378 birds. We have total of 218 villagers under our administration. I have information from village councils that culling is not taking place in some of the villagers," said Kougen Roy, a development official of the Rampurhat village.
Realizing the fact that many poultry bird owners were reluctant to give their birds up for culling, the district administration has sought the help of the police in a door-to-door operation.
The State Government has said that it will issue a notification within a day asking all villagers to give up their birds for culling. Otherwise, police would start a door-to-door raid.
The district administration feels that even if a single bird is not culled in the affected areas, there is every possibility of the virus spreading further.
The Centre is reportedly considering a relief package for the poultry industry and for farmers affected by the bird flu.
The Union Agriculture Ministry has called a meeting of poultry industry representatives on Wednesday to take their view on the matter.
The total number of bird-flu hit districts in West Bengal has gone up to 13 out of 19, despite the culling of birds being taken up on a war footing.
West Bengal Animal Resources Development Minister Anisur Rehman has said that over 15.75 lakh poultry have been culled so far out of the target of 22 lakh birds.
Officially, the culling is over at all bird flu affected areas in Birbhum, the most affected district in West Bengal.
Neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Bhutan too have ordered a strict surveillance on poultry-related traffic from India following the bird flu outbreak.