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Navapur poultry farmers cry foul
Makarand Gadgil in Navapur | February 21, 2006 11:05 IST
Poultry farmers in Navapur in Maharashtra's Nandurbar district, which is in the news for all the wrong reasons, have organised a "chicken party" for the media and officials at the local government rest house Tuesday.
The reason: the local poultry farmers' association members will eat chicken delicacies under the glare of the world media in an attempt to show that the bird flu is just a hoax.
To press their point home, the farmers are also demanding damages from the state government for the huge loss of reputation that the "so-called" bird-flu has inflicted on them.
Aarif Balesaria, member of the Navapur Poultry Association and corporator of the local municipal council, told Business Standard that the association had asked Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who visited Nandurbar Monday, to consider a compensation of Rs 110 for each bird culled, and not the meagre Rs 40 announced by the state government.
"The losses due to culling of birds will be around Rs 30 crore but more than that, we are worried about the loss of reputation," he said.
Balesaria said the farmers were not ready to accept that the birds were affected by the avian flu just because one laboratory said so. Bird culling should be stopped till reports from laboratories in Pune and London were received, he said.
Balesaria said the association had taken samples of chicken blood where culling was yet to begin and that those would be sent by the farmers themselves to the Bhopal laboratory.
Besides, the Navapur poultry industry specialises in egg trading and not broiler trading. There are around 12 lakh birds and 52 registered poultry farms in the area and the daily turnover of the industry is around Rs 12 to Rs 13 lakh.
Explaining why the compensation offered by the state government was too low, Balesaria said, "Purchasing one bird costs Rs 120 and after nearly 20 weeks, the birds start laying eggs. After 60 weeks, we reach the break-even point for one bird and then after 75 to 80 weeks, we sell the bird and get Rs 40 to Rs 50 per bird."