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Culling begins tomorrow; villages being quarantined

Written by: Staff
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Jalgaon, Apr 7 (UNI) Ninty teams from Animal Husbandry Department today fanned out across villages to begin culling of about 3.10 lakh birds from tomorrow, following the third outbreak of bird flu, even as authorities were preparing to quarantine 47 villages to accomplish the task in five days.

Announcing it here this evening after holding a series of meetings during the day, Nashik range Commissioner Sanjay Chauhan said they have also contacted the railways to suspend train halts at Pachora and Chalisgaon railway stations on Mumbai-Busawal section.

He said bus services to and from 47 villages are also being suspended at least until the culling operation is over. Weekly bazars where people buy and sell poultry and eggs in these villages are also being identified to close them, he said, adding all these measures are being taken to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

Mr Chauhan said culling would be first carried out in 47 villages located in three kms radius of the 14 villages of this district of northern Maharashtra where the third outbreak of avian flu caused by H5N1 virus was confirmed on Thursday. Subsequently, the operation would be extended to another 307 villages located in 3 to 10 kms range of the flu-hit 14 villages, he added.

The Commissioner said of the estimated 3.10 lakh birds to be culled in total 354 villages, 1.20 lakh layers are housed in commercial poultry farms, while the remaining 1.90 lakh birds are being reared in the backyards of their houses by villagers for whom sale of chicken and eggs are supplimentary source of earning.

A day before the third outbreak, the Animal Husbandary Department had slaughtered 2.40 lakh chickens during a week following the second outbreak of the bird flu in 288 villages of the district on March 28. After the first outbreak on March 14, as many as 95,000 birds were killed in 174 villages.

The 14 flu-hit villages from where the samples tested positive for the deadly virus are Nandra, Pachora, Wadli, Muktainagar, Salebardi, Khamkheda, Chalisgaon, Sakri, Nandgaon, Mehunbare, Mehndi, Pimpri, Vidwa and Bodade, district Collector Vijay Singhal said, adding these villages are scattered across 9 of the total 15 tahsils of Jalgaon district.

After the country's first outbreak of the avian flu occured on February 18 at Navapur in Nandurbar district, also in northern Maharashtra, authorities had to kill more than three lakh birds to contain the spread of the disease.

UNI XR-SA TM BS2203

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