Culling of birds ordered in Assam border districts

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Guwahati, Feb 1 (UNI) The Central government today ordered culling of chickens in Assam's two districts along the West Bengal border as a preventive measure.

Top state Veterinary department sources informed that the Central government had taken the decision on the basis of the report, submitted by a Union Health and Veterinary department team that had visited Northeast after the outbreak of bird flu in West Bengal.

''We have received the verbal orders and are expected to receive it in writing by this evening. The culling will start from tomorrow,'' the sources said.

The sources, however, affirmed that it was only a preventive step and there was no report of outbreak of the avian influenza in any part of the state till now.

Blood samples of poultry had been sent to Kolkata and Bhopal for testing and no positive report had been received yet.

The culling of birds would be carried out within five km radius of Assam-West Bengal border in the districts of Dhubri and Kokrajhar and are expected to begin from tomorrow, after the Central's order reached Dispur.

Meanwhile, state Veterinary department director A K Kotoky said no bird flu case had been detected in the state and the department was undertaking awareness and preventive measures.

He said the visiting Central team had also expressed satisfaction over the steps by the state Veterinary department.

'' There is no reason to panic and we are monitoring the situation closely, '' Dr Kotoky added.

The detection of bird flu in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal had brought the dreaded disease right up to the threshold of Assam, creating panic in the state.

Import of poultry from West Bengal had already been banned in the NE states after the confirmation of bird flu outbreak in the neighbouring state on January 15.

UNI SG SJC SP AS1926

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