Keranga bird flu: Culling halted after locals resist

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Khurdha: Culling of fowls in Keranga village of Khurda district was halted due to stiff resistance by the villagers who are demanding demolition of poultry farm on the outskirts of village and compensation proportional to the cost of each bird culled.

“Our village remained a disease-free zone for last 50—60 years. But, the virus came to the village since the farm was set up on the outskirts. So, the birds in the farm should be culled first. After then we will cooperate with the government officials in killing the avian creature in the village”, a resident said.

Locals also demanded exact cost of the hens/cocks from the administration. “The administration should compensate us for the birds. Otherwise, we will not allow anyone to kill our domestic birds”, another resident said.

Three rapid response teams, which were mobilised to take up culling operation, failed to kill any bird in the village, which has been identified as the epicentre of H1N1 virus.

The team had no plan to cull chickens at the nearest farm house as it is not within 1 km radius of the infected village, Animal Resources secretary Bishnupada Sethy said. “The virus had been detected in the same village four years ago. Now, the epicentre of the virus has been identified. Three Rapid Response teams have been formed to cull 2000 birds in 1 km radius of the infected place”, Sethy added. There is no poultry farm within one km radius of the village, he added.

Also Read: Culling begins at Keranga after bird flu detection

A huge pit has been dug to bury the culled birds and elaborate arrangements have been made for disinfecting the area, Sethy pointed out.

The Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department had received report from High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal confirming the H5N1 virus on December 25 following which the district collector had convened a meeting on Monday and decided to cull the fowls in infected village. Sample of dead hens/cocks were sent to Bhopal on December 19 and those were tested positive for the avian flu.

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