Govt working out package for bird flu victims

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Jan 28 | Updated: Jan 29 2008, 03:41am hrs
The central government will soon decide upon the compensation package to be doled out to the poultry industry and farmers, with a view to offset the losses suffered on account of the recent incidence of bird flu in West Bengal.

The poultry industry has planned to meet the Union agriculture minister, Sharad Pawar on Wednesday to discuss the issue of the compensation package.

Briefing mediapersons on Monday, the animal husbandry secretary in the central government, Pradeep Kumar said : "The compensation package will, however, be different for the farmers and the industry. Industry has suffered losses on account of the fall in prices of poultry products and the farmers have incurred losses on account of death of birds, destruction of feed and eggs. We are working out the data of the losses to be compensated."

Bird flu has now spread to 13 districts in West Bengal and newer areas in the affected districts. Despite the rapid spread of bird flu in West Bengal since the first detection in two districts in January 15, the central government still contends that the effect is localized and confined only to West Bengal.

The neighbouring state, Bihar had done some culling operations in its adjoining areas, apprehending the spread of bird flu virus.

The 13 districts in West Bengal which come under the influence of bird flu are Birbhum, Dakshin Dinajpur, Nadia, North 24-Parganas, Murshidabad, Burdwan, Cooch Behar, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur, Howrah, Bankura, Hoogly and Purulia. Bird flu has not yet been detected so far in Kolkata, thiugh it has reached the surrounding districts like North 24-Parganas, Burdwan, Howrah and Hooghly.

So far 19,30,024 birds have been culled, 2,10,705 eggs and 36,880 kg feed have been destroyed in all the 13 affected districts of West Bengal. Kumar said that by the end of the month the culling operations would be completed in all the districts with the exception of Murshidabad and 900-ood rapid response teams were at work. Samples for possible incidence of bird flu virus on humans have been collected and send for testing in three laboratories, the results of which are awaited.