Govt resorts to culling birds

POKHARA: In a bid to stop the further spread of bird flu in Pokhara, the government has started killing birds in the area. It is estimated that there are nearly 12,000 birds in the area.

The authorities also started destroying all the poultry, poultry-related products and the material used for poultry farming. The move follows the detection of bird flu yesterday spreading panic in the picturesque tourist city.

Dr Shiva Devkota, Regional Animal Disease Research Lab, today said that the operation would last a week. He also urged the local residents to follow precautionary measures. Gharipatan in Ward No 7 and 17 have been declared as the epicentre of the outbreak, according to Dr Bimal Kumar Nirmal, in-charge, Bird Flu Control Room, Kaski.

Krishna Prasad Sharma, head, Western Regional Directorate on Animal Health, said the government has decided to compensate the poultry farmers for the losses they incurred. According to him, poultry farmers will get Rs 500 for one kilogram of Layer chicken, Rs 250 for broilers, 100 for ducks and chicken, Rs 5 for the poultry food, 50 paisa for duck egg and chickens and Rs 50 for a kg of meat as relief.

Besides Kaski, Rupandehi, Kapilbastu, Tanahun, Syangja, Gorkha and Palpa are also identified as high-risk areas, he added. In order to control the spread of bird flu, a technical committee has also been constituted in each of the high-risk districts. Sharma said rapid response teams have been deployed in the affected districts. The authorities are holding an interaction with the locals and the poultry entrepreneurs tomorrow to make them aware about the disease.

In order to coordinate all the activities related to the prevention of the disease, a control room has been set up in District Veterinary Office, Kaski. Check points have also been set up for controlling the movement of poultry and related products.

Western Regional Public Health Director Dr Ashok Kumar Chourasiya said a separate room had been set up in the Western Regional Hospital for treating bird flu patients, if any. As panic spread, Bharat Shrestha, a farmer in Gharipatan, said they were worried as their hundreds of thousands of the investment was about go in vain.