Culling operation not hit by Morcha shutdown

Even as government offices across Darjeeling district remained closed for the third consecutive day due to the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha’s renewed shutdown,the Animal Resources Department has been spared the diktat.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published:January 10, 2009 2:47 am

Fresh reports of unnatural poultry death from Bijanbari and Rangli Rangliat blocks

Even as government offices across Darjeeling district remained closed for the third consecutive day due to the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha’s renewed shutdown,the Animal Resources Department has been spared the diktat. The culling operation in the two affected areas is nearing completion even as fresh reports of poultry deaths came from other parts of the district.

Darjeeling District Magistrate Surendra Gupta said reports of unnatural death of poultry birds had been received from two backyard farms in Bijanbari and Rangli Rangliat blocks. “We have sent teams to collect samples,which will be sent for testing to ascertain if the cause of death is avian influenza. Culling began on Thursday in the Vinaykrishnapalli area in Siliguri,and Takdah in the Hills. As of today 4,200 birds have been culled. Our target is 6,000,which we hope to achieve tomorrow,” Gupta said.

On January 6,confirmation came that death of poultry in some parts of Darjeeling district was due to the avian flu virus. According to sources,the state government had earlier urged the Centre to help carry out surveillance of poultry birds in the Darjeeling Hills saying state officials were facing serious problems owing to the agitation launched by the GJM. Senior ARD officials said that although they are yet to receive any response from the Centre in this regard, they have decided to strengthen the vigilance in the area. ARD officials said they would get in touch with the Centre once again so that they can secure help from Central experts while carrying out surveillance of poultry birds in the Hills.

Gupta added that all offices in the Hills remained shut and attendance was almost zero.

“It’s not as if the employees don’t make an attempt to come to office,but the many pickets put up by the GJM hinder them,” Gupta,however,added.

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