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65 rapid response teams formed in TN to tackle bird flu

Written by: Staff

Chennai, Mar 22 (UNI) The Tamil Nadu government has constituted 65 rapid response teams at the district and divisional headquarters to tackle the dreaded avian flu.

These teams were formed following a high-level meeting last evening. In addition to the teams in the district and divisional headquarters, ten more teams had been set up in Coimbatore (four), Namakkal (four) and Erode (two).

Asserting that the state continued to be free from bird flu, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences Director T N Palanivelu today said no incident of H5N1 was reported from any of the districts engaged in the poultry business in Tamil Nadu.

Giving an update on the dreaded avian flu situation in the state, he told UNI here that the situation was being monitored on a daily basis from all the districts and the surveillance process continued.

Stating that the state government was prepared to meet any eventuality, he said a sum of Rs 50 lakh was reserved for payment of compensation to the farmers in the event of any culling operation.

Dr Palanivelu said the state government had issued an order to this effect yesterday.

The Centre had released Rs 3.16 crore for infrastructure like setting up cold chains as part of the efforts in tackle the situation.

Maldives, Malaysia and Sri Lanka were accepting certificates issued by the head of the state while countries like Saudi Arabia and Japan were awaiting certificates from the Union Government.

''Importing countries like Sri Lanka, Maldives and Malaysia have been accepting our certification for the last ten days,'' he said estimating the daily export loss to be Rs 20 lakh for the last ten days.

Dr Palanivelu said ten per cent of eggs were exported to other countries out of a total production of 2.5 crore.

After the first outbreak, the sales had picked up by around 80 per cent but the second outbreak of avian flu meant a dwindling sales, which was now at 30 per cent.

As a result, egg was being sold at 50 paise each against the fixed price of 70 paise per egg. This was mainly to promote selling, he said, adding several awareness programmes were being initiated.

Such an effort was a joint endeavour by the Health and Animal Husbandry which was awaiting the government's clearance for the issuance of an advertisement in the next two to three days.

People engaged in poultry business had been asked to cut production to an extent to minimise the losses, Dr Palanivelu said adding that the state had 6,089 poultry units and a poultry population of over eight crore from both the organised sector and the backyards.


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