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Govt admits huge economic loss due to bird flu

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New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) The government today admitted that the country is suffering huge economic loss due to ban on import of Indian poultry products imposed by some countries and plummeting prices of chicken and eggs in the domestic market following outbreak of bird flu in Maharashtra.

The country exports poultry products to the tune of Rs 200 crore to Rs 220 crore per year. Some countries have banned import of poultry products from India which has affected the Indian producers. But its impact could be assessed only over a greater time period, Mr P M A Hakeem, Secretary in the Animal Husbandary Department told reporters here.

However, the loss due to declining prices of poultry products in the domestic market is far greater. Due to drastic decrease in the prices, some of the poultry farms have stopped production, he pointed out.

Asked about confidence building measures being taken by the government for poultry farm owners, Mr Hakeem said that containing and restricting the disease, which is a localised outbreak, by culling the birds, is the first CBM taken.

Other steps would be taken later, after complete assessment of the situation, he said.

Meanwhile, in Maharashtra's Navapur sub-district 2,72,035 birds have been culled and 5,87,432 eggs destroyed till today. Culling operation has concluded in the state while the destruction of eggs and feed material is still continuing. In Gujarat, 73157 birds have been killed and culling operation concluded.

Over Rs 7,58,860 compensation for culled poultry paid to farmers in Maharashtra while Rs 23,24,560 crore paid to Gujarat farmers.

Five additional Rapid Response Teams have been mobilised from Aurangabad region and deployed for operation in backyard poultry.

Steps have been initiated to mobilise the support of farm owners for collection of litter and its disposal. Destruction of feathers of birds on large scale has started with the help of fire guns.

UNI AJ PA GC2000

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