With the Centre confirming an outbreak of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in Manipur, the state government today began culling 1.6 lakh birds within five kilometres of the site where the virus was detected.
All chickens and other domesticated birds within five kilometres of the Chingmeirong area near here would be killed to prevent the spread of avian influenza, officials said.
The state government, which described the situation as “very serious”, said it would compensate poultry owners. It was estimated that about Rs 60 lakh would be spent for this, the officials said.
The H5N1 strain of bird flu, currently prevalent across the world, was detected in samples taken from over 100 chickens that died in a private farm in Chingmeirong.
About 5,000 chicks and adult chickens at the government -run poultry farm in Mantripurkhri on Imphal’s outskirts would come under the knife along with 1.6 lakh birds being reared in private poultry farms.
The culling operation would cover 128 small poultry units. Twenty rapid response teams will initially focus on eight villages surrounding the area of infection, said a statement issued by the Indian agriculture ministry in Delhi.
Meanwhile, a report from Churachandpur district said over 200 fowls in a private farm had died some days ago. Veterinary experts rushed to the area to collect blood samples.
The state government said, as part of measures to counter bird flu, no leave would be granted to employees of the veterinary department except in emergency situations and on genuine health grounds for three months from today.