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Monday, March 08, 2021

Avian flu: 1.05 lakh more birds culled in Maharashtra farms

The exercise began on Sunday in which over 42,000 birds were culled after cases of avian influenza or bird flu were confirmed in the poultry farms in the region.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Navapur (maharashtra) |
Updated: February 9, 2021 3:00:55 am
maharashtra birdflu, maharashtra birdflu cases, avian flu, maharashtra birds culling, indian express newsCulling of birds in Navapur on Monday. (Photo: Deepak Joshi)

In one of the biggest culling exercises since bird flu cases were reported in Maharashtra, 1.05 lakh hens in five poultry farms in Nandurbar district’s Navapur were culled on Monday. It takes the total number of birds culled in Navapur to 1.47 lakh so far.

The exercise began on Sunday in which over 42,000 birds were culled after cases of avian influenza or bird flu were confirmed in the poultry farms in the region. The five farms where culling is being done have a total of 1.74 lakh hens. On Monday, the district administration said reports on samples from three more poultry farms too have come positive for bird flu. These three farms have a total 1.31 lakh hens and authorities said these birds will be culled as well.

There are 27 poultry farms in Navapur, the poultry hub of Maharashtra that supplies hens to Surat and other adjoining areas, with a total 9.71 lakh hens in all. Of the 27, 16 farms fall under the infected zone, which is one km radius from a farm where birds have tested positive. There are a total of 4.90 lakh hens in these 16 farms.

Dr Rajendra Bharud, district collector of Nandurbar, said in all 80 teams including from neighbouring districts have been deployed for the culling. “The culling of hens is going on at five poultry farms. The reports of other farms are awaited and further action on culling of hens will be taken up after receiving the reports,” said Bharud.

Each team consists of four people — livestock development officer, livestock supervisor and two peons. The teams have been given PPE kits and Tamiflu. The authorities will also be destroying the eggs and bird feed at the farms. Preliminary estimates suggest 2.5 lakh to 3 lakh eggs will be destroyed in these farms.

The government, meanwhile, has announced compensation of Rs 90 for every bird that is culled, Rs 3 per egg destroyed and Rs 12 per kg of destroyed birdfeed.

However, poultry farm owners say the compensation is inadequate and the outbreak has struck a death blow to Navapur’s poultry industry. “After the culling, poultry farm owners are not allowed to bring any new bird for at least three months and it may take another 2-3 months to start the business. It will also render our 10 labourers jobless for at least six months. While we have incurred in all Rs 4 crore loss, the government compensation is not sufficient to recover the losses. The government must increase sufficient compensation and that too at the earliest,” said Vasim Belesaria, owner of Sahyog poultry farm where around 47,000 hens are being culled.

Navapur, which is known for layer poultry farming i.e., raising egg-laying poultry birds for commercial egg production, was the epicentre of the bird flu outbreak in the state in 2006. Nearly 10 lakh birds were culled or died in Navapur after the outbreak in 2006. However only 2.53 lakh birds were culled under government supervision.

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