Culling to extend till May 15 in Kurseong sub-division

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Siliguri, May 13 (UNI) Culling operations at Painikumari village under Sukna block of Kurseong sub-division of Darjeeling district of West Bengal was today extended till May 15, with 20,900 poultry birds being culled so far out of the target of 22,622.

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

The culling operations were to be completed today. However, since they could not meet the target, they have extended it for two more days to meet the required target.

Union Ministry of Agriculture joint commissioner Dr A B Negi today came here to survey and observe the moping operations.

He attended a meeting at Siliguri Circuit House with Darjeeling DM Rajesh Pandey, Siliguri ADM Paritosh Roy and other high officials of the district administration to assess the situation and said he would stay here till the culling operations were completed.

Meanwhile, reports had come in of birds dying due to mysterious reasons in Phoolbazar and Bijonbari areas during the last seven days. Samples had been sent for test for H5N1 avian flu strain in these dead birds to Bhopal's High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory. However, experts said their preliminary assessment suggests that these samples would be tested negative.

About 25 teams are on site to execute the culling operations, the sources said, adding that alert had also been issued throughout Darjeeling and Siliguri.

This was the first time that Darjeeling faced the bird flu scare since the disease almost crippled the poultry business in Bengal since mid January.

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

UNI XC LL SP NS1923

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