Srinagar, Feb 22 (UNI) The bird flu scare has hit hard the poultry industry in the Kashmir valley as the sales of chicken and eggs have dipped by more than 95 per cent over the past two days with people, predominantly non-vegetarians, preferring mutton over fowl.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has ruled out incidence of bird flu in the state.
However, the administration, as a precautionary measure, has imposed a ten-day ban on import of poultry from outside the state and set up control rooms at Jammu and Srinagar to monitor the situation besides respond to queries of farm owners, consumers (general public) and farmers on the deadly disease.
Ali Mohammad, a leading chicken seller here, said the sales have dipped quite significantly over the past three days.
He said only five per cent business could be registered in the past three days.
However, he said the ban on poultry imports to the state had very less impact as about 70 per cent of the requirement was fulfilled by the local farms.
''Only 30 per cent of poultry used to come from outside the state. We have a large number of poultry farms here...Ban on imports has no impact. That is not a problem,'' Ali Mohammad added.
He said the people have stopped eating chicken and eggs after the reports poured in that bird flu cases had been detected in Maharashtra.
Despite assurances from the administration, the people are gripped by fear of the deadly disease and have almost stopped eating chicken and eggs.
''Though strictly non-vegetarians, Kashmiris are very health conscious. They are preferring mutton to chicken after the bird flu reports came in. The people do not even prefer chicken from local farms,'' he added.
However, Ali Mohammad said the price of chicken has not fallen and continues to be static at Rs 47 per kg over the past three days.
Similarly, he said the price of eggs too have not fallen as these continue to be sold for Rs 20 a dozen.
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