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Home > News > PTI

Birds found dead, panic in Kolkata

January 18, 2008 12:34 IST

Birds were found dead in southern and eastern parts of Kolkata on Friday, triggering panic among residents even as culling operations in bird flu-hit areas of Birbhum and South Dinajpur districts continued at a slow pace.

Residents panicked at the sight of dead birds -- like crows and owls -- and a civic team moved round the metropolis to collect bird carcasses.

"We are informing the state health department to assess whether the deaths were usual or unusual," a civic department official said.

Concern was voiced at Sealdah and Kalighat market areas in central and southern parts of the city following reports of death of caged birds, alarming shopkeepers, who downed shutters.

Animal Resources Development (ARD) Minister Anisur Rahman said bird flu had spread to Murshidabad district where adequate precautions had been taken.

Lack of awareness on the part of bird owners and villagers had been hampering culling operations in most affected areas and a campaign was launched to convince villagers that government will pay compensation for the bird loss, he said.

Alert was sounded along the Indo-Bangla border at Bongaon and Petrapole areas, where BSF and ARD personnel were coordinating in spraying disinfectants in vehicles entering the country from Bangladesh.

Union Livestock Commissioner S K Bandopadhyay will hold a meeting with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Rahman and other officials during the day to review the situation arising out of the avian influenza outbreak in the state, official sources said.

The World Health Organisation had warned that the outbreak of avian influenza in the state was far more serious than the pandemics in Manipur and Maharashtra.

The Centre admitted the outbreak of the deadly disease in West Bengal was on a wider scale than in those two states.
Culling operations continued for the third day at the worst hit Rampurhat I, II and Murarai and other blocks of Birbhum district and in South Dinajpur district.

A report from Burdwan said reports of chicken deaths were reported from seven blocks in the district. While official sources put the figure at 2,000, unofficial sources claimed that 10,000 chicken had died in the last seven days.

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