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Culling of birds yet to begin in Jalgaon;fears of spread of flu

Written by: Staff
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Jalgaon, Maharashtra, Mar 15 (UNI) A day after bird flu was confirmed in Maharashtra for the second time, culling operations are yet to begin, despite reported deaths of 100 birds at Erandol, about 40 km away from here.

Government spokesman Bhushan Gagrani while admitting that the killing of birds in the affected areas could not begin today, claimed that the culling operations in 174 villages, within the 10 km radius of Savda (Raver taluka), Marul (Yaval taluka), Savle (Dharangaon taluka) and Hated (Chopda taluka) in Jalgaon district, is likely to begin later tonight.

The culling operations were delayed due to want of labour because of Holi.

District Collector Vijay Singhal said that 100 birds had died at Erandol this morning and added that the samples were being sent to the Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal to find out if those birds had succumbed due to the H5N1 virus.

The Collector said all the four affected villages--Salva, Savdha, Marul and Hated--in the neighbourhood of the first flu-hit Navapur town, have been sealed, because of which the culling operations would start tomorrow. However, digging of trenches to bury the culled birds have started and JCB machines have been employed for the same, he informed.

Mr Singhal said they have decided to cull birds in 174 villages instead of 25 decided yesterday as it appeared that the disease had spread.

Gram sabha meetings have been convened in 25 villages to educate them about the gravity of the situation and seek their cooperation in meeting it, he added.

Mr Singhal said special wards have been set up in rural hospitals in four tehsil towns of Darangaon, Chopda, Ravel and Yaval, adding that an isolatioon ward has also been created in the civil hospital here to attend to emergencies, if any.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh spoke to the district collector over the phone and reviewed the situation. He has appealed to the people not to panic.

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