Bishalgarh (Tripura), Apr 27 : The culling of chickens in Tripura's bird flu-hit Bishalgarh district began today.
It is the third area in Tripura in less than two weeks to come under the grip of deadly virus.
Culling began early morning and about 10,000 birds were slaughtered in Nadilagh and Chandrapur area of Bishalgarh subdivision, which is only 30 kilometres away from Agartala.
"It seems the virus entered from Bangladesh and there is high alert in the bordering areas so that the illegal entry of chickens and ducks from Bangladesh can be stopped. Besides, we are keeping a close eye so that no poultry birds can go out of the affected areas," said Jagadish Debbarma, Staff, Animal Resource Development Department (ARDD).
The ARD department took up measures to contain the spread of the disease by alerting the Border Security Forces (BSF), erecting check gates at different locations and preventing the transport of infected or dead birds into the state.
The villagers express their grievances regarding the culling process, as it was their sole mode of livelihood.
"We nurture these chicks and they are the source of livelihood we used to sell them and earn our living but now they are being taken away for culling," said Jahana Khatul, villager.
In India, the virus resurfaced in West Bengal in January this year, forcing authorities to cull more than four million birds.
The World Health Organization described the January outbreak in West Bengal as the worst ever in India.
While no human cases have been reported in India, experts fear the H5N1 virus might mutate or combine with the highly contagious seasonal influenza virus and spark a pandemic that could kill millions of people.
Since the virus resurfaced in Asia in late 2003, at least 240 people have died from bird flu in a dozen countries, the WHO says.