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Culling of birds in Jalgaon begins tonight

Written by: Staff
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Jalgaon, Mar 29 (UNI) A day after quarantining 22 villages and restricting movement of people and vehicles in six tehsils following the second outbreak of the bird flu in Jalgaon district of northern Maharashtra, workers of the state animal husbandry department began culling operation tonight.

District Collector Vijay Singhal said of the 82 teams sent across the affected area to start the culling operation, the one which reached Erandol began culling the birds late this evening.

Similarly, chickens are being collected and killed from backyards of people's houses in the city slum locality of Tambapur, he added.

He said digging of trenches to bury the culled birds was completed this evening and the 82 teams, whose members were requistioned from Akola, Wasim, Buldhana, Yavatmal and Dhule districts, were sent across the villages late this afternoon to start the culling operation immediately on arrival in their respective targeted areas.

The culling is being first undertaken in 22 villages located in the three km radius of Badgaon, Utar, Parora, Varad, Paldhi and Erandol from where samples of dead birds had tested positive for the H5N1 virus. Subsequently, it would be extended to another 266 villages situated in the ten km range of the flu-hit villages.

With the second outbreak affecting six tehsils, the total number of tehsils hit by the avian flu in Jalgaon has gone upto ten. Four were affected during the first outbreak confirmed on March 14, necessiating slaughtering of 95,000 birds in 174 villages.

The second culling operation in 288 villages envisages culling of about 2.10 lakh birds, the Collector said.

After the first outbreak, officials of animal husbandary department had undertaken random sampling across all the 15 tehsils of the district. Official sources said test reports of samples collected from the remaining five tehsils is still awaited from Bhopal's High Security Animal Disease Laboratory.

Earlier in February, more than three lakh birds had to be slaughtered in Navapur in Nandurbar district, also in northern Maharashtra, when India's first outbreak of the avian flu was confirmed on February 18.

Two of the six freshly-affected tehsils - Raver and Muktainagar - are located in the vicinity of Ichhapur town in adjoining Burhanpur district of Madhya Pradesh where the first outbreak of the virus yesterday prompted the government to initiate containment measures.

Afer banning with immediate effect the movement of poultry stock, people and vehicles last evening, the authorities ordered that trains will not halt at Paldhi and Pardhadi railway stations and bus services to and from 22 villages have also been suspended untill further orders.

Of the estimated 2.10 birds to be culled in 288 villages, as many as 72,500 layers will be slaughtered in 16 poultry farms. The remaining are scattered in backyards of village houses.

Sale of poultry and eggs in the affected area has been banned and the weekly bazars in the villages ordered shut untill further notice.

Police patrolling has started to enforce quarantine in 22 villages.

During the first outbreak in the district at Marul, Savda, Hated and Salva, the administration had culled the entire poultry livestock in 174 villages located in a ten km radius of these four places.

UNI XR-SA PR HT2155

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