The DDA, which owns a large number of parks in the city, said authorities are monitoring the situation closely, and parks are being disinfected.
The Delhi government on Saturday announced a ban on import of live birds and closure of the city’s biggest poultry market at Ghazipur after more avian deaths were reported in the national capital where three recreational parks and the famous Sanjay Lake were shut.
Addressing an online media briefing, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said while no confirmed case has so far been registered in Delhi, his government is taking all possible measures to prevent the spread of the avian flu.
He said a 24-hour helpline — 23890318 — has been set up for the assistance of the people, adding that 104 samples have been sent to a laboratory in Jalandhar. “As a precautionary measure, Delhi is taking several steps to control the spread of bird flu. The import of live birds is being completely banned from today onwards. The Ghazipur poultry market will remain closed for the next 10 days,” the chief minister said.
An official said the ban on import of live birds will be in place till further orders in the national capital.
On Friday, the Centre said bird flu has been confirmed so far in six states – Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat.
Kejriwal said in the last few days, there have been several cases of bird flu across various parts of the country, which is a cause of worry. “We have collected around 104 samples till now. Upon receiving the results day after tomorrow, the Delhi government will take all decisions and measures based on the results,” he said.
Three recreational parks and the famous Sanjay Lake in Delhi were closed by authorities on Saturday amid an avian flu scare in the city as several birds were found dead on their premises in the last couple of days, officials aid.
Besides, the popular Hauz Khas Park in south Delhi, which is a huge water body and attracts a large number of crowd every day, has also been shut, they said. The Delhi Development Authority owns about 800 parks, other big parks being the Coronation Park in Burari, Japanese Park in Rohini and various biodiversity parks.
At least 24 crows have been found dead at a district park in south Delhi’s Jasola in the past three days and 10 ducks have died at the famous Sanjay Lake, DDA officials said on Saturday.
At the media briefing, Kejriwal said rapid response teams have been formed in every district to contain the spread and conduct proper surveillance, adding that these teams will function under district magistrates. “Our veterinary officers are conducting proper surveys in all bird markets, wildlife establishments and water bodies across Delhi, ” he said.
“The special focus of the teams are Poultry Market Ghazipur, Shakti Sthal Lake, Bhalswa Lake, Sanjay Lake, Delhi Zoo, DDA Parks, situated at Hauz Khas village, Pashchim Vihar and Dwarka.
“News of birds dying is also coming from across Delhi, and the rapid response teams of those districts are conducting adequate inspection of the situation,” the CM said.
Iqbal Qureshi, a trader at Ghazipur Murga Mandi, said the government’s decision to shut market for the next 10 days was wrong and taken without consulting the traders.
“This is a wrong move to shut the Mandi even as signs of bird flu have not been found here. The trade will be badly hit as advance payments have been made and the trucks carrying chickens from other states are in transit,” he said.
At least 35 crows have died in the national capital in the last few days and the samples have been sent to labs for testing, officials had said on Friday.
An official of the animal husbandry unit had said around 50 birds, mostly crows, had died over the last three to four days in these three areas.
“We received information about the death of crows in Dwarka, Mayur Vihar Phase 3 and Hastsal village in west Delhi. However, it is yet to be ascertained if bird flu infection is the reason,” Dr Rakesh Singh from the department had said.
Meanwhile, shops selling poultry meat in the national capital claimed they have recorded a 20-25 per cent dip in sales over the last few weeks.
On Friday, Poultry Federation of India president Ramesh Khatri had said, “There has not been an outbreak of bird flu in broiler chicken anywhere in the country. Still, their prices have fallen at farm level by up to 50 per cent due to sentiments.”
In north India, farm gate price of broiler chicken declined to Rs 50 per kg on Friday from Rs 100 per kg. Egg rates have also dropped to Rs 5 per piece from Rs 5.30 per piece, he had said.