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`Government trying to dispel fears about bird flu'

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ALLAYING FEARS: Minister for Animal Husbandry V.S. Acharya (right) and H.T. Sangliana, MP, at the inauguration of a poultry farmers' convention in Bangalore on Tuesday. Free chicken dishes were on offer to the public at the venue to dispel fears abou t bird flu. Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.
ALLAYING FEARS: Minister for Animal Husbandry V.S. Acharya (right) and H.T. Sangliana, MP, at the inauguration of a poultry farmers' convention in Bangalore on Tuesday. Free chicken dishes were on offer to the public at the venue to dispel fears abou t bird flu. Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

Staff Reporter

Kerala, Goa requested to lift ban on poultry products from State

Bangalore: Poultry farming is an integral part of animal husbandry, and it gives employment to thousands of people in the State, said V.S. Acharya, Minister for Animal Husbandry and Medical Education.

He was speaking after inaugurating a poultry farmers' convention here on Tuesday. The convention was organised by Karnataka State Cooperative Poultry Federation (KSCPF), Karnataka Hatcheries Association (KHA) and the Bangalore chapter of the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC).

The poultry farmers presented a memorandum to the Minister on the occasion.

"The Government is keeping a close watch over the bird flu situation in the country. The State is bird-flu free. The fear and misconceptions about the spread of the flu will go away soon, it is only a matter of time," the Minister said.

Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar recently announced that people should start consuming chicken and eggs with a vengeance and help clear the backlog, he said.

Request

"The Government has contacted the authorities concerned in Goa and Kerala and requested them to lift the ban on entry of poultry products from the State. We are close to achieving that," Mr. Acharya said.

He also said that the Government will look into giving chicken feed manufacturers maize at the minimum support price and restructuring the loan period.

The Minister assured the farmers that eggs will be included in the midday meal scheme. Regarding compensation for the culled chicken, he said a contingency plan is ready.

"The State Government is doing all that it can to dispel doubts and fear about bird flu. Such conventions help the Government achieve that goal," he added.

D.K. Kantaraj, president of the KSCPF, said the industry has incurred a huge loss.

H.T. Sangliana, MP, said there has been excessive coverage about bird flu. "Farmers should be proactive and take steps that will help them tide over the problems they are facing now," he said.

Treat

Delegates and invitees to the convention had a treat in store for them: chicken in its various culinary forms. Chicken kababs, chicken biryani and chicken curry were among the delicacies served. to prove the point that once cooked in traditional Indian way, poultry meat was as safe as ever to eat.

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