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Centre to set up 3 poultry labs: NECC

By Staff
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Pune, Apr 15 (UNI) The Centre has agreed to set up three more laboratories to test poultry livestock in the country at Pune, Chennai and Bangalore.

This was announced here today by National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) chairperson Anuradha Desai after meeting Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar. She led an 18-member delegation of the poultry industry to him.

She held a meeting with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi yesterday, seeking support for the industry hit hard by the birdflu scare.

She told mediapersons Mr Pawar accepted their demand to set up the labs in areas where the industry is concentrated. The minister also agreed to set up a committee comprising three scientists and a representative from the poultry industry to monitor the functioning of poultry-testing labs, she added.

''It is incorrect for one person to declare birdflu and create a scare; this should also be checked,'' she added.

Presently, there is only one lab in the country to test poultry livestock. All samples, which reportedly tested positive for the deadly H5N1 virus, were tested at Bhopal's High Security Animal Testing Labortary.

Ms Desai said Mr Pawar also agreed that anti-flu vaccines will not be used to innoculate poultry livestock as it could spread the disease. The birds, if affected, should be culled but not vaccinated, she said, adding the industry could be divided in zones in the across the country to prevent spread of the disease in event of its outbreak.

Meanwhile, the NECC demanded relief package for the Rs 32,000 crore industry that has been hard hit by the flu scare. Ms Desai said egg stocks lying in the godowns of Food Corporation of India should also be lifted to help the industry which has already suffered a loss of Rs 8,000 crore, while seven farmers have commited suicide.

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