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Bird Flu Hits Poultry Farmers, Tamil Nadu Bans Poultry from Kerala

Kerala seems to be dealing with the worst bird-flu hit ever which paved way for the mass death of ducks and hen for the last few days, resulting huge loss to the poultry farmers.

The import of poultry from Kerala has banned by the Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday as a measure to prevent the spread of bird flu in the state, said a government statement.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting, headed by Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam. According to the statement, around 17,000 ducks died in Kerala due to bird flu and as a precautionary measure several steps have to be taken so that the flu does not spread to Tamil Nadu.

As per the decision taken at the meeting, poultry and poultry products coming into Tamil Nadu from Kerala will be turned back. All vehicles from Kerala will be sprayed with disinfectants. The Tamil Nadu government has decided to form 800 teams to take action in preventing the spread of bird flu.

The state government has also written to the Southern Railway authorities instructing them not to allow poultry and poultry products in trains from Kerala to Tamil Nadu.

The worst affected districts in the Kerala are reportedly Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam. Many ducks were tested positive for H5 avian influenza virus. Tests were conducted after ducks in and around Alappuzha started to die in large numbers a week ago.

Alappuzha is also referred to as the ‘duck capital’ of Kerala, as ducks are reared in paddy fields filled with water during the rainy season. There are around 600 houseboats in Alappuzha district.

Earlier Tuesday, a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy decided to cull about 200,000 poultry birds as a precautionary measure against avian influenza. Meanwhile, there were wide protests from farmers regarding the decision of state government of killing the poultry birds.

However, on Tuesday, the Centre had dispatched three expert teams to visit the affected areas and assist state officials in containing the H5 virus.

While the bird flu spreads in the areas, farmers face huge loss as they had lost their hope of making profit through their business in the months ahead. Many of them were awaiting for Christmas and New Year as the duck price usually touches to its peak during these seasons.

(With inputs from IANS)

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