Guwahati, Feb 23 (UNI) North East has banned entry of poultry from the rest of the country even at the risk of facing acute shortage as the region is predominantly a non-vegetarian zone.
Although all the states have local produces of chicken but only Assam has a viable production. However, it too is dependant on Andhra Pradesh for supply of eggs.
Assam had also banned the entry of chicken from here, causing panic among the chicken farm owners.
Assam government last night ordered a ban on entry of chickens and other poultry products following confirmation of bird flu in Maharashtra.
West Bengal, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh had already declared such a ban.
Assam imports at least six truck loads of eggs every day from Andhra Pradesh and with the ban, there would be an acute shortage of eggs in the state.
In neighbouring Mizoram, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department Director C Sanghina ordered the ban of poultry products from Assam while Manipur government not only banned poultry products, but also chicken feed.
Informing about the ban that came into effect from today, state Veterinary Director P Das told news person that no case of bird flu had been reported so far but the state government was taking all precautionary measures if any case was detected.
A series of meetings had been convened to discuss the state's preparedness to face any eventuality and to plan damage control measures, he added.
Mr Das said keeping in mind the possibility that Assam might become the dumping ground for chickens after the ban by the neighbouring states, the state ordered the ban.
A state-level monitoring committee has also been constituted.
The government has launched a mass awareness drive to educate the people, especially those handling poultry, on the precautions to be taken.
Staff of the veterinary department were being trained on safe collection of pathological samples for tests, if needed.
''So far everything is normal. We are keeping a watch on mass mortality of chickens which would indicate that something is amiss,'' Mr Das said.
Facilities and manpower at Regional Disease Diagnosis Laboratory at Khanapara here were being prepared for handling infected birds, if found.
The laboratory would be used for taking precautionary measures like isolation.
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