State Principal Secretary (Animal Husbandary) R M Srivastava has issued a directive to all the districts to prevent entry of poultry in their area particulary from West Bengal, where avian influenza (bird flu) had already knocked the doors. In his letter to all the district magistrates (DM)yesterday, Mr Srivastava said that all the districts should progumulate section 133 or 144 under CRPc to prevent entry of poultry products in UP from West Bengal or other parts of the country. Quoting the Centre's concern over bird flu, the official asked the DMs to send a response of their action.
The state government's action came in wake of the report of transportation of about 257 cases of chicken (about 10,000 pieces) by Bibhuti Express to Varanasi from Burdwan in West Bengal on January 26.
The Varanasi district authorities were very late to react and could get hold of one Gulab, worker of the trader Dipu Sonker, who had imported the chicken from West Bengal, only after these chickens were sent to some small traders in Shahajahanpur and Buxar in Bihar.
However, officials from Shahajahanpur or Buxar were not ready to say anything about the chickens being sent from Varanasi.
Meanwhile, a high-level meeting is being held in the state capital to monitor the situation, even as the officials maintained there was no threat of bird flu in UP. On the other hand, after the outbreak of avian influenza in West Bengal, poultry sales in UP declined by 40 per cent.
The UP Poultry Association said there has been a 40 per cent fall in the sale of poultry across the state, which is among the biggest consumer of chicken and other poultry products.
While top officials were confident that the deadly virus had not invaded the state so far, an alert has been sounded in all districts last week to keep a close vigil on the situation.
The districts have been asked that in case unnatural death of a bird is reported, necessary samples would instantly be sent to the laboratory in Bhopal for confirmation of avian influenza virus.
Besides, bird sanctuaries in the state, that attract migratory birds since the onset of winters, have been put on watch.
Official sources said directives have been issued to all the 13 bird sanctuaries in UP to ensure regular monitoring of unnatural bird deaths.
Uttar Pradesh, is one of the biggest consumer of poultry products in the country with about 300,000 chicken and nearly 15 million eggs being consumed every day.