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Poultry farmers in Pune threaten to kill birds if no help received

Written by: Staff
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Pune, Mar 16 (UNI) Poultry farmers here today demanded compensation from the State government for the losses they are incurring over miniscule sale of chickens, following emergence of bird flu and have threatened to kill their birds, if they do not receive any help.

More than 400 poultry farmers, mainly from Wadgaon Maval today submitted their charter of demands to Deputy Collector Suhas Devse, urging him to mobilise steps to save 7.5 million birds in the district.

''We have made a fervent request to the State government to take these birds into their custody on of before March 18. As we cannot feed the birds thereafter, we are left with the only option to destroy them. Till today, our birds are healthy and they will be killed on Saturday, poultry farmers' representative Dr V N Khedkar told mediapersons here today.

Since the farmers have already incurred heavy losses after procuring loans from banks, it is beyond their capacity to feed the 7.5 million birds, as their selling price has come down to a meagre Rs 5-6 per kg, thus causing a whopping loss of Rs 40-45 per bird to the farmers, Dr Khedkar said.

''In the meanwhile, we have asked the Government to collect samples of the birds and send them for testing to Bhopal laboratory, to be sure that the birds here are totally free of bird flu virus,'' he said.

He said the farmers were hopeful that the Government would not leave them in lurch and would take steps to save the district poultry industry, which contributes 35 per cent of the total poultry produce of the state, Dr Khedkar added.

He also said the industry has suffered a loss of Rs 25 crore and if the situation remains the same for the couple of weeks more, the poultry farming will be totally destroyed, he warned.

Incidentally, more than five million broilers are produced in over 2,500 farms in the district every month. Most of the farms are based in rural areas, contributing significatly to the rural economy, as well as providing employment to youths.

UNI SP GK VD BS1846

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