Sunday 29 January 2012

Bird Flu, the Avian Influenza: It is here again in Tripura.

Bird Flu is here again:

          After reading the news of bird flu resurgence elsewhere in the country, I was suspecting that the bird flu virus would one day re-appear again in Tripura. In reality, it has stuck again in Tripura. On 25.01.2012, sample of the suspected bird sent to the central laboratory at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh has come out with positive result of having this virus. 
        That means bird flu virus has stroked in the ICAR Farm at Lembucherra, west Tripura district which is very adjacent to the capital city of the state Tripura.
         The confirmed test report has also been sent to the central Government, the centre is said to have advised the state government to take all precautionary measures to check the further spread of this virus.
         ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research), Lembucherrra farm keeps the stock of poultry birds (birds of different species) has reported the suspected death of poultry birds at the farm, subsequently, sample of which had been sent to the central bird flu testing laboratory at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh for ascertaining and confirmation of causal agents of such suspected death of poultry birds in the farm. The result is; the bird flu virus has again stroked in the state like before in the recent times.
         In earlier post titled” bird flu the avian influenza in the closer periphery to attack” , I had mentioned that this deadly virus as already mentioned had appeared in the neighboring regions so, Tripura might not be immune to the attack of this virus however, it was not clear what corrective measures had been taken by the state Government due to the fact that this virus had almost come to the periphery of Tripura through which it seemed it could easily gets transmitted to the state affecting the birds of the regions.

Affect of repeated appearance of bird flu in the state:

         Repeated appearance of bird flu virus in the state has pushed the poultry farm owners in the sidelined condition. People (directly or indirectly) associated with poultry industry in the state have been greatly affected due to this onslaught.
          Poultry farm owners are the direct casualty for this repeated appearance of this bird flu virus in the state; in this whole onslaught, their whole products is destroyed causing irreparable damage to the resources created and economic despondency which could resist them in future endeavor with the poultry business.
          People associated indirectly with the poultry business through selling of poultry products gets affected due to the prolong gap of business restoration after the massive onslaught.
         Consumers of the state are also affected due to such affects that has been happening repeatedly in the state, they are subjected to high market price on going alternative to the poultry products like mutton, pork, local fowl etc. During such times, this product gets an exceedingly highest price which is beyond the reach of the many in the state.
         Some businessmen who sales the poultry products from other regions otherwise disease free poultry products also faces the market onslaught due to the fear of the people to the poultry products, in such time there is less preference to the poultry products which ultimately affect the poultry dealers.
         “Poultry market in Agartala area looks to be deserted, peoples’ orientation towards poultry birds is exceedingly less and now, inclination is towards mutton, pork and local fowl which fetches or their market appreciation is noteworthy; mutton sales in rupees three hundred and eighty per kilogram, pork sales in rupees two hundred and twenty per kilogram and local fowl sales in rupees two hundred per kilogram”.

Reaction of the state government:

          On confirmation, the state Government has taken every possible step to check the situation under control. The state Government has formed fourteen numbers of rapid action team to deal with the situation. 
          The three kilometers radius areas surrounding the Lembucherra area has been earmarked by the state Government to cull all the birds; hen, duck, pigeon etc in the area for arresting the spread of bird flu virus in adjoining areas.
         Culling of birds within three kilometers areas has already begun covering Lembucherra village, Balaram Para village, Sipahipara village and Senapatipara village. In these villages, it is reported that all the birds (whether suspected to be infected or disease free) have been killed and buried by the rapid action team as part of the preventive measures undertaken by the state Government.
        In addition, eggs have also been destroyed for checking the spread of virus in surrounding areas.
          The state Government has earmarked the ten kilometers radius areas where all movement of poultry products and sale of poultry products have been banned. It was also reported that culling of birds would be undertaken within this next zone (ten kilometer radius areas) in second phase.
         The feeling of the people who actually witnessed the steps undertaken by the state government as part of the preventive measure is that “ the teams have been culling the birds irrespectively without looking into whether the particular bird is disease free or already infected with the virus, villagers apprehend that in the next three to four month, there would be no local fowl in the villages and prices of any if comes up within that period would be exorbitantly high whereas in the upcoming month there follows many traditional festivals like GARIA PUJA , a traditional occasion of the indigenous people of the state”.
         The state Government is offering compensation to the affected people of the areas whose birds have been culled in the process. The amount is quite low as far as time and money spent for growing these birds either in the poultry farm or in the village level through local fowl are concerned, however, as the matter is for safety and security of human health any positive steps matter.
      The compensation amount as indicated in the media (reflected below) are said to be in conformity with the guidelines of the central Government.
        • Local fowl of less than 10 weeks of age= rupees twenty per bird
        • Local fowl of more than 10 weeks of age= rupees fifty per bird
        • Local duck of less than 10 weeks of age= rupees thirty five per bird
        • Local duck of more than 10 weeks of age= rupees seventy five per bird
        • Poultry chicks(small)= rupees twenty per chick
        • Poultry bird(big)= rupees forty per bird
        • Egg , rupees two per egg
        • Poultry feed= rupees six per kilogram

Reason of outbreak of bird flu in Tripura:

         While reason of repeated appearance of bird flu virus in the state is not known or declared as on date by the state Government but the matter of the fact is; it is quite impossible to find out the actual reasons for such appearance and reappearance of bird flu virus in the state. This is for the fact that this virus has the distinction to appear repeatedly in other regions or countries too.
          However, prevention should be the main motto in the future challenge that could repeatedly chase in the state causing the losses to the poultry farm owners and villagers of the state. 
          As already mentioned in earlier post; movement of poultry product in the state is very intrusive and it is for the fact that the poultry products can come to the state through interstate boundary to the international boundary therefore, along with the conscious of the state Government, people of the state should be very much careful in dealing with this situation.
        The state government may also evolve an effective mechanism in all such entry points for regulating the entry and exit of infected commodities as the case may be.
            Another aspect is; depending every time in central laboratory would not result good things therefore, state should have such infrastructure in place to deal with such situation in time.
    Agritangkol dated 29.01.2012 at 2.40 P.M

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