No human beings had been affected by bird flu in India so far and no cases have been reported, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss shared with media on Sunday, as PTI (Press Trust of India) reports from the state. In its report PTI says that he told reporters here on the sidelines of a function that "Not even a single case has been reported so far" His remarks come in the wake of the outbreak of bird flu in five districts in West Bengal. Since its outbreak on Jan 15 in Birbhum, the bird flu has spread to western and Northern areas of the state. The government has also stepped up culling operations. The Health Minister said people in Tamil Nadu need nor harbour any fears about being affected by the disease as no cases of bird flu had been reported in the state.
The five districts of West Bengal which have been affected with H5N1 virus are Birbhum, South Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Nadia and Burdwan.
IANS reports from the state that around 1,00,000 poultry birds have been culled in West Bengal since Wednesday as the dreaded bird flu virus engulfed five districts, and the State government staved off criticism over its handling of the crisis. "We have culled around 1,00,000 birds in the first four days and the culling operation is on in full swing. Now we have 250 Rapid Response Teams, each team comprising five people," West Bengal Animal Resource Development Minister Anisur Rahman told IANS.
The State government has allocated Rs 3 crore as compensation for those losing their poultry birds. Farmers were being handed over tokens at culling sites and asked to contact their panchayat or village block offices for the money. The payment is Rs 40 for a country chicken, Rs 30 for a broiler and Rs 10 for a chick. Meanwhile broiler chicken and egg prices have crashed by 25-30 per cent in various parts of the country following the confirmation of bird flu in West Bengal. Consumption of poultry and egg has come down by about 25 per cent, leading to a crash in prices of these products.
As this blog is seen by many in media too, we are hereby listing some contacts in the State - (The info is as per state web site)
Animal Resources Department
Sri Anisur Rahaman
Minister – Animal Resources
Kolkatta – 700 001
Tel – 221 40564, 22145600 extnb – 4236/4502
Fax – 221 45213
Principal Secretary Animal Resources
Tel 22143690 Fax: 22145006 Email: email@example.com
Health and Family Welfare
Dr. Surjya Kanta Mishra
Minister Health and Family Welfare
Additional Chief Secretary
Tel 23575899 Fax: 23577907