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JK Govt seeks Army's help in combating bird flu from PoK

By Super
Jammu and Kashmir
Srinagar, Feb 26: The Jammu and Kashmir government has sought the help of the armed forces in preventing the spread of bird flu in the state following the reported outbreak of the deadly avian influenza in Dhadyal and Mirpur areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Animal Husbandry Commissioner-cum-Secretary Dr Mohammad Deen said letters of request have been sent to General Officers-in-Commanding (GOCs) of XIV, XV and XVI Corps and the Border Security Force (BSF) Inspector General, (Kashmir) to extend help to the Department's vigilance teams deployed in villages along the Line of Control (LoC) to maintain strict surveillance over the resident and migratory bird populations.

The Directors of the Animal Husbandry Department (Kashmir and Jammu Divisions) have already sent the letters of request to GOCs and the BSF IG, urging them to facilitate the free movement of teams on recce in the villages along the LoC.

''We seek your help in maintaining a strict vigil on the poultry population along the LoC so that no unusual mortality in bird flocks gets unnoticed. This is in the larger national interests to prevent ingress of poultry from across the LoC so that the infection does not spread to our flocks,'' the letter said.

Similarly, letters have also been sent to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in Srinagar, Jammu and Leh to help the Animal Husbandry officials in preventing the entry of poultry and poultry products into Jammu and Kashmir from outside the state.

The Jammu and Kashmir government, on February 10, banned the import of poultry and poultry products into the state under the Animal Diseases Control Act, 2006.

Pakistan's The Post and The Frontier Post reported on February 24 that the bird flu had reached border areas of PoK from India as thousands of chickens were reported to be found dead in Dhadiyal and Mirpur across the LoC.

The Pakistani media reports said panic gripped the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir, forcing them to intensify vigil in border areas to prevent spread of the deadly disease in the state.

A BBC report from Muzaffarabad on Friday said about 250 migratory birds were found dead on the banks of the Mangla Lake and the Wildlife authorities had attributed the deaths to poisoning by weedicides used in wheat fields.

The report, quoting officials, said some samples were being sent to the Agriculture Research Institute in Islamabad for final diagnosis.


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