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IANS

After the outbreak of highly-contagious African Swine Fever (ASF) and killing of thousands of pigs in Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya, the authorities in the three northeastern states have issued several restrictions, including ban on trading of pigs, pig feed, pork and pork products in and around the affected areas.

After Mizoram, the fresh outbreak of ASF was reported from Tripura and Meghalaya.

Officials said on Wednesday that the state authorities are taking steps as per the guidelines of the National Action Plan of the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying for control, containment and eradication of ASF.

In Mizoram, the ASF, which created havoc last year killing over 33,400 pigs, has reappeared in a few districts, killing over 800 pigs over the past two months.

Officials of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department said that fresh pig deaths due to ASF were reported from some villages in Champhai, Aizawl, Lunglei and Saitual districts since February this year.

"We have asked the concerned officials to send daily reports of fresh ASF outbreak to the directorate in Aizawl," an official of the department told IANS over phone.

Chief Secretary Renu Sharma recently held a meeting and reviewed the situation and finalised strategies to prevent the further spread of the infectious disease.

ASF was first detected in Lunglei district in March last year and subsequently, it spread to all the 11 districts of Mizoram, claiming the lives of 33,417 pigs and affecting over 10,000 families besides causing financial loss of Rs 61 crore.

Around 11,000 pigs were culled last year and compensation for culled pigs amounting to around Rs 12 crore was sought from the Central government.

In Tripura, the state Animal Resource Development Department (ARDD) has so far culled over 240 pigs and piglets at the government-run Debipur farm and adjoining villages in Sepahijala district after the outbreak of ASF earlier this month which killed around 100 pigs.

ARDD Director Dilip Chakma told IANS that as per the national guidelines, the state government has been providing Rs 18,000 to Rs 20,000 to the affected pig farmers.

An awareness campaign on ASF has been undertaken in Sepahijala district involving the local administration and the gram panchayats, he added.

In Meghalaya, many pigs have died in Umsning block in Ri-Bhoi district.

Villages within 1 km radius of the infected premises have been designated as 'Infected Zone' and all villages within the 10 km radius have been designated as 'Surveillance Zone'.

Principal Secretary in the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department, G.H.P. Raju, issued a notification on Tuesday informing the people that whoever places or permits to be placed in any river, lake, canal or any other water body the carcass or any other part of any animal which at the time of death was known to be infected with ASF, would be punished with fine and imprisonment.

According to experts, the outbreak of ASF may have been caused by pigs or pork imported from neighbouring Myanmar, Bangladesh and the adjoining states of northeast.

The northeast region's annual pork business is worth around Rs 8,000-10,000 crore, with Assam being the largest supplier. Pork is one of the most common and popular meats consumed by both the tribals and non-tribals in the region.

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