February 2, 2009 1:47:45 am
Following the confirmation of avian influenza or bird flu in Cooch Behar on Saturday,the administration has begun a culling operation within a three-km area of the epicentre of the outbreak on Sunday.
Even as culling teams began the operation to contain the dreaded H5N1 virus,orders were issued prohibiting trade and transportation of poultry birds and products within a 10-km radius of the affected area.
The culling of nearly 45,000 birds is expected to be completed in three days,officials of the district Animal Resource Development (ARD) department said on Sunday.
The culling operation was scheduled to begin on Monday,but we decided to send our teams to Nagar Bangni and Uttar Dangkoba villages today due to the gravity of the situation, said Tapan Kumar Roy,ARD Deputy Director. He said 30 teams,comprising five members each,have been formed to execute the culling of poultry birds.
The state has been repeatedly hit by the outbreak of bird flu in the last one year. Lakhs of birds have been culled during this period,but every time the disease reared its head in another part of Bengal. Last month,the H5N1 virus had been confirmed at several places in Darjeeling district.
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