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Bird flu spreads to two more districts in West Bengal
January 27, 2008 17:25 IST
Bird flu [Images] was detected in South 24 Parganas and West Midnapore on Sunday, taking the number of affected districts to 13 in West Bengal. Authorities of the two districts confirmed the spread of avian flu and told PTI that culling operations would begin on Monday.
West Midnapore District Magistrate N S Nigam said samples of chicken sent from Chakbelcha village in Debra block of Kharagpur subdivision had tested positive.
In South 24 Parganas, the disease tested positive in Budge Budge, District Magistrate Sanghamitra Ghosh said.
Nigam said 40 teams would start culling operations within five km radius of Chakbelcha on Monday.
Meanwhile, bird flu spread to Baro Khalasamari at Mathabhanga block in affected Coochbehar district, where the disease had hit four villages in Dinhata bocks I and II. In the affected district of Howrah, avian flu spread to Panchla in addition to Sankrail. Reports from the district said a fox and other birds like falcon were found dead there.
Over 15.75 lakh hens and cocks have already been culled so far out of the target of 22 lakh in 11 districts and 1.25 lakh had died, West Bengal Animal Resources Development Minister Anisur Rehman said. "The rest of the birds would be culled on Monday," he said.
With the disease now virtually knocking at Kolkata's doors after spreading in Howrah, Rehman told PTI that poultry products from the affected areas would not be allowed to enter the city. The fear has aggravated since the spread to South 24 Parganas, part of which form the city's suburbs, and Kolkata Municipal Corporation has formed eight teams to monitor the situation in the city.
State Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta said the government would provide financial and other help to five lakh families, who have lost their poultry in the culling operation, and waive their loans.
"As the five lakh families whose birds have been culled cannot start their business for the next three months, we have decided to give each of them Rs 500 as one time relief. For this we need Rs 25 crore," he told a press conference. "We will try to compensate the entire loss directly and indirectly to all the affected families," he added.
The affected districts are South 24 Parganas, West Midnapore, Birbhum, South Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Nadia, Burdwan, Bankura, Malda, Coochbehar, Hooghly, Purulia and Howrah. Culling was over in Hooghly, Burdwan, Bankura, South Dinajpur and Nadia districts.