THE PANIC triggered by reports of high mortality has forced a number of poultry farm owners in Barwala to sell chickens at cheap rates in a hasty manner.
While results from labs are awaited, shopkeepers continue to sell produce. The average price of 1kg chicken, which used to be Rs 30 to Rs 40 during normal days, has fallen to Rs 10 to Rs 15.
“We started selling the chickens at very cheap rates. Once the price of 1kg live chicken was Rs 40 and these days we sell it for just Rs 10. We have even accepted the rate of Rs 5, almost like selling them free of cost. Though eggs ar supplied to supplied to Bihar, UP, West Bengal etc, we are not aware about the places where chicken will be sent,” said the owner of a poultry farm at Barwala, from where at least 15 samples were picked. At least 57 samples were collected from 15 poultry farms situated in the radius of around 15km in Barwala area, on Wednesday.
A team from the Union Health ministry arrived in Panchkula Thursday to monitor the health of workers at the poultry farms in Barwala, which saw high mortality of birds. The team will collect samples of the workers on Friday, to rule out the possibility of the presence of bird flu-related virus in humans. The team will stay here for at least next 48 hours and will be will be assisted by the district health department, which had also collected samples of poultry farm workers two days back.
“Selling of chickens will be a matter of concern if something is found in the final report of samples from Jalandhar and Bhopal laboratory. Poultry farm owners have the right to sell the chickens in the open market,” said DC Mukesh Kumar Ahuja.
Workers at several poultry farms maintained that they started selling the chickens in high numbers when high mortality was being reported in a number of farms. Workers maintained that there are certain poultry farms which preferred to sell almost 50 per cent of their poultry birds in the open market. There are around 140 small-big poultry farms in Barwala, which is considered to be the second largest poultry belt in Asia.
The reports of bird flu among migratory birds in Himachal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh has made an adverse impact on the sale of eggs and chickens. Animal husbandry departments in various states issued advisories for not eating raw meat and eggs.
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