The new areas where culling has been ordered are Kirnahar in Birbhum district and Barban in Murshidabad district.
“Since a large number of chickens have died there over the last few days, we suspect it is a case of bird flu and have ordered culling,” said Anisur Rehman, minister for animal resource development said. The samples have been sent to the Bhopal laboratory for testing, but results are still awaited.
Reports of chicken deaths from Katwa in Burdwan district and Mongolkot in Nadia district have further alarmed the government. “We are not taking chances so we have sent the samples to Bhopal,” said Rehman, who is visiting Birbhum tomorrow to supervise culling operations taking place there.
The Livestock Commissioner of India, Shantanu Kumar Banerjee, is arriving in Kolkata tomorrow to take stock of the situation. He is scheduled to meet chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and minister for health Surya Kanta Mishra. Meanwhile, the decision to ban poultry imports from the state by governments of Sikkim and Jharkhand has irked the Writers’ Building.
“They are doing this out of panic. The poultry has not been affected and eating them is absolutely safe. We will take up the matter with the Central government,” said Dilip Chakrabarty, principal secretary of the department of animal resource development.