| Culling experts at work in Kamalpur, 165km from Agartala on Tuesday. (PTI) |
Agartala, April 8: More than 5,000 birds were culled since full-scale operations were launched this morning in the four flu-affected villages — Mohanpur, Malaya, Ganganagar and Noagaon — of Tripura.
Twelve teams of 10 men each, including veterinary doctors, specialists from the health department and locally recruited labourers, launched the operations from 7 this morning.
Hundreds of villagers, instructed over the public address system yesterday, appeared at selected places to hand over poultry to the culling experts.
The farmers have been given cash compensation of Rs 40 for each full-grown poultry chicken, Rs 20 each for younger ones, Rs 50 each for desi chicken and Rs 70 for ducks. “We have disbursed a total compensation amount of Rs 4 lakh today and the villagers have been extremely co-operative,” said U. Venkateswarulu, the commissioner of the animal resource department.
The entire operation was supervised by the director of animal resource development department, Asim Roy Barman, and additional director Samarendra Das.
The assistant commissioner in the Union animal resource development department, Dipankar Biswas, health specialists from New Delhi, S.P. Sinha, Nabin Gupta and Avadesh Sharma, who have been camping in Kamalpur since yesterday, monitored the culling operations and suggested measures to check the deadly H5N1 virus from spreading.
Kamalpur’s border with Srimangal and Bhanugach areas under Maulvi Bazar district of Bangladesh has been sealed while the sale of poultry within a 5-km radius of the affected villages is banned.
A special isolation ward was opened in Bimal Sinha Memorial Hospital in Kamalpur yesterday to treat any human cases.
The district magistrate of Dhalai, L. Darlong, who has also been co-ordinating the culling operations and related measures in Kamalpur, said: “We have constituted five rapid response teams with doctors of the health department to deal with humans if anybody is affected by bird flu.”
Briefing reporters in the state secretariat, Venkateswarulu said culling would recommence in four other villages — Bilascherra, Maracherra, Mayacherri and Harerkhola — tomorrow and end on Friday.
“Nearly 8,000 families have been affected by the disease and according to preliminary estimates, the loss will be around Rs 20 lakh,” Venkateswarulu said. He said 20,000 birds would be culled in the coming days.