At least 3,000 chicken have been killed in the past 48 hours following an outbreak of avian flu across several hatcheries in the district.
District magistrate Manish Kumar Verma said: “After detection of the H5N1 virus strain, we have earmarked an area within a radius of 1km of Lanka Tola where the regional hatchery centre is located. To prevent further infection, we have formed 15 teams that have started culling chicken in every house in the 14 wards of the town that are within the radius of 1km.”
Another district administration official said: “Dr D. Biswas of the Union health ministry had come to Purnea on Friday evening. He confirmed the administration about the detection of H5N1 virus after the sample was tested at High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal. A sample had been sent for test in Bhopal and Calcutta when some chicken died at the state regional hatchery centre on February 28.”
Till Sunday morning, over 400 hundred chicken have died so far at the regional hatchery centre, a unit of the state department of animal husbandry.
In the past two days, the 15 teams also handed out compensation in cash to the poultry farmers in the town, about 350km northeast of Patna.
Each team comprised a doctor, three labourers for culling chicken, a municipal official and a ward councillor.
They are also accompanied by a photographer who takes pictures twice — first, when poultry products are destroyed and later when the compensation amount is given to the farmer.
Dissatisfied with the compensation — which the farmers felt quite lower than the prevalent market rate — several businessmen dealing in hatchery products are trying to send the products to neighbouring districts and states. Over 300 chicken were destroyed on Saturday evening while they were loaded on a pick-up van in the town’s bus stand on way to Ranchi.
“We have put a curb on transporting such chicken. At least 16 check-posts have been set up at different points in the district,” DM Verma said.