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Culling of birds in full swing

Written by: Staff

Jalgaon, Mar 30 (UNI) An estimated 40,000 birds have been culled in avian flu-hit area till late this evening after 22 villages were quarantined and movement of people and vehicles restricted in six tahsils following the second outbreak of the bird flu in Jalgaon district of northern Maharashstra on Tuesday.

District Collector Vijay Singhal, who visited Erandol and Paldhi villages to oversee the culling operation, tonight said 82 teams of the State Animal Husbandry Department were working in full swing to accomplish the task of killing about 2.10 lakh chickens in 288 villages targeted under the operation.

The culling was 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, he said, adding the operation would be extended to another 266 villages situated in the ten km range of the flu-hit villages.

With the second outbreak affecting six tahsils, the total number of tahsils 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.

After the first outbreak, officials of animal husbandary department had undertaken random sampling across all the 15 tahsils of the district. Official sources said test reports of samples collected from the remaining five tahsils 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.

Movement of poultry stock, people and vehicles have been banned in 22 villages and trains ordered not to halt at Paldhi and Pardhadi railway stations. Bus services to and from 22 villages will also remain suspended untill the culling was over and affected villages disinfected, the Collector said.

Of the 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 remained shut.

Police patrolling is continuing to enforce quarantine in 22 villages.


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