Culling begins in Kurseong subdivision of Darjeeling district

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Siliguri, May 10 (UNI) Culling operations began today at Painikumari village under Sukna block of Kurseong subdivison in Darjeeling district, with a target of 15,000 birds to be disposed of in three days.

Official sources said the sale of poultry products had been banned within a radius of 10 km around the village for 10 days and restrictions had been imposed on the movement of poultry products.

A meeting of the district administration officials, attended by Darjeeling District Magistrate Rajesh Pandey, Kurseong Sub-Divisional Officer Dibyendu Das, Animal Husbandry division Joint Director Lakshmi Narayan Bannerjee and the Health Department officials was held here this morning to take stock of the situation.

About 25 teams would execute the culling operations, the sources said, adding that alert had also been issued throughout Darjeeling and Siliguri districts.

Earlier, an investigation had confirmed the presence of the H5N1 avian flu strain in some dead birds.

Kurseong Sub-divisional officer Dibyendu Das told UNI that about 300 birds had already died of suspected bird flu.

He said blood samples, tested in Kolkata and Bhopal's High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory, had been found positive.

Darjeeling faced the bird flu scare for the first time since the disease almost crippled poultry business in Bengal since mid-January.

Earlier, 14 out of 18 districts of Bengal had been affected by the avian flu.

UNI XC DPM SBC KN1617

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