Staff Reporter

No bird flu threat in State, says V.S. Acharya No bird flu threat in State, says V.S. Acharya

Government has sought report on losses Rs. 5 crores for measures against bird flu State has asked for 42 lakh doses of bird vaccine Seven border districts sealed

BANGALORE: Kerala and Goa have lifted the ban on poultry and poultry products from Karnataka, Minister for Medical Education and Animal Husbandry V.S. Acharya announced in the Legislative Council on Wednesday, and said this indicates that the situation is under control.

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said the Government has called for a status report on the extent of losses suffered by poultry farmers after bird flu hit Nandurbar in Maharashtra a couple of weeks ago. He was responding to Leader of the Opposition H.K. Patil's plea for a discussion on bird flu, and wanted to know how the Government plans to address the problem of plummeting sales and prices of poultry products.

Dr. Acharya said the Government has set up a fund to help mitigate the losses sustained by farmers whose poultry will have to be culled, and they are being paid Rs. 30 to Rs. 40 a bird.

Mr. Patil and several other Congress members demanded that the Government make a commitment on declaring a minimum support price for poultry as prices of chicken have fallen from Rs. 75 a kg to Rs. 30.

However, Mr. Kumaraswamy and Dr. Acharya said a revolving fund of Rs. 35 crores has been set up to protect farmers against severe losses. Mr. Kumaraswamy said he is awaiting the status report on the extent of losses and damage to poultry before arriving at a baseline price.

Precautions taken

Dr. Acharya reiterated that there is no incidence of bird flu in the State. Soon after the outbreak was reported in Nandurbar in Maharashtra, the Government took precautions. The State has sought 42 lakh doses of bird vaccine, the seven border districts have been sealed, and transport of poultry from neighbouring States has been banned.

The bird vaccine has to be imported, and there is no vaccine for humans. But the drug, Tamiflu, will be stocked in adequate quantities in case of outbreak of flu.

Of Rs. 5 crores set aside for measures against bird flu, Rs. 80 lakhs has been used to buy protection gear for persons handling poultry.