Poultry deaths due to bird flu declined in West Bengal: Ramadoss

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New Delhi, Jan 29 : Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss on Tuesday said that poultry deaths due to bird flu in West Bengal have declined.

"It is a fact that the natural disease mortality has declined in West Bengal due to bird flu. Lesser number of birds are dying due to the disease," Ramadoss told reporters here.

He also expressed confidence that the State and Central Governments "would be able to contain the disease."

Ramadoss expressed his satisfaction over the steps being taken by the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Government to contain the outbreak.

He also said that the Centre has accepted all the requests send by the State Government for monetary and other help.

Ramadoss said that the government is also trying to find out a compensation package for the poultry industry.

Meanwhile, the Central Government has sought details from neighbouring Bangladesh on the strain of bird flu virus affecting the poultry in that country.

"On the issue of Bangladesh we have been asking the External Affairs Ministry to coordinate with the Bangladesh Government and also the World Health Organisation (WHO) to find out what strain Bangladesh has been afflicted with,"amadoss told reporters.

"Once we cull the birds and do away with them and if again the infection comes we need to know where it has come from," he added.

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.

As per the latest reports, a total of 916 Rapid Response Teams were engaged on January 28, which completed culling of 2.38 lakh birds taking the cumulative figure of culling so far to 21.68 lakh.

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 four 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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